The Detroit Lions’ release of Stephen Peterman earlier in the offseason created a starting job on their offensive line. One of Martin Mayhew’s biggest criticism of the line’s play in 2012 was pressure up the middle. Peterman performed poorly in pass protection and became an unsurprising fall man.
All that being the case, it would seem the Lions would show some interest in free agent guard Andy Levitre, soon to be formerly of the Buffalo Bills. He has quietly become one of the league’s best, particularly protecting the quarterback.
NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling put together a great roundup of the Levitre chase:
Reliable Titans beat writer Jim Wyatt was willing to give “even money” Friday night that general manager Ruston Webster’s first phone call at midnight would go Levtire’s agent. By Saturday afternoon, Wyatt had confirmation that the Titans are among the teams blowing up the agent’s phone.
So who is Webster’s primary competition? Already reported to be interested in free-agent guards Brandon Moore, Kevin Boothe and Ramon Foster, and the Sun-Times believes Levitre is on the Chicago Bears’ radar as well.
Surveying the free-agent landscape, there aren’t many teams with salary-cap space and a dire need at guard. One team that qualifies is Indianapolis, though general manager Ryan Grigson is expected to concentrate on Louis Vasquez due to his ties in the Colts’ front office.
According to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, one of the Titans, Colts, and Bills will be left without a chair when the music stops. All three have interest in Levitre and Vasquez, which could leave the loser competing with the Bears for Moore and Foster.
Notably absent from the discussion are the Lions. It’s no secret that money will have a lot to do with Levitre’s decision and that is an area the Lions simply can’t compete given their lack of room under the salary cap.
In a perfect world (like the kind where the Lions have $40 million in cap space), Levitre may have been one of the team’ top targers. But we don’t live in such a world an the reality of the situation is that no matter how much the Lions might like Levitre, purusing him may simply not be feasible.
While fans always like to dwell on the big names, situations like this go to show that the best player isn’t always the best fit.