Its no secret the Lions need to hit big this offseason if they hope to return to the playoffs. But with so many holes on the roster and so little room under the salary cap, it will be a difficult task. One of the most immediate issues will be how the Lions address Jahvid Best‘s role and with news breaking that Reggie Bush is likely to enter the free agent market, Bush is the most obvious free agent possibility to take Best’s spot in the Lions’ offense.
Dec. 23, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush (22) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the third quartet against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Bush could add the big play threat that the Lions sorely missed last season with his 4.33 forty speed and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield that few others in the NFL possess. Adding a dynamic player out of the backfield would not only help Mikel Leshoure find some easy running lanes, but also help the Lions’ offense as a whole get to where they need to be.
Bush, who would fit the Lions’ running back need best in free agency, made over 4.5 million dollars last season and will likely be asking for more since he’s answered the questions about being an every down back with over 2,000 yards in two seasons.
That leaves us asking the question, how high do the Lions regard Jahvid Best’s role in the offense? Enough to spend between 4-6 million dollars on a player like Bush?
While it may seem that the Lions are in trouble with so many holes on the team, 23 free agents, and little cap room to work with, the Lions do have options to overhaul their roster and they can do so by doing the following:
First, the Lions must restructure Matthew Stafford‘s contract. How much cap room that will free up is unknown at this point, but his $20.82 million cap number is way too high. It wouldn’t be out of the question for the Lions to cut that salary cap hit in half if they could rework his deal.
Next, the Lions have to and probably will cut ties with Kyle Vanden Bosh, who will take up over 10 million dollars if he stays on the roster. Between Stafford and Vanden Bosh the Lions could give themselves around a 10 million dollar cushion, enough to sign a player like Reggie Bush.
Finally, the Lions have 23 restricted free agents. Most of the media acts like this is a serious issue and it can be. It can also be a good thing as most of the Lions’ roster underperformed in 2012. My take on this is to sign the players you absolutely can’t afford to loose. Whether the Lions decide those players are Cliff Avril, Louis Delmas, Chris Houston, or Justin Durant, or all of them, the Lions should still have a small budget set aside for free agency when it’s all said and done, where they can tie the roster together with a few solid players.
With that said, the key to this offseason undoubtedly will be striking gold in the draft. The Lions should have room to sign a player like Bush, or trade for Darrelle Revis, or pursue most of their own free agents, depending on the route they chose to go, but the key to filling most of the Lions needs reside in the draft, and the Lions look like they are on the right track to doing that with the recent hire of Brian Sanders, who was very successful in his stint as G.M. for the Denver Broncos.
What do you think Lions fans, would you like to see the Lions go in the direction of Reggie Bush with such a tight budget?