Great news Lions fans, Charles Woodson and Dwight Freeney are free agents and they just so happen to play two positions that the Lions will desperately need to upgrade next season if they wish to return to the playoffs.
What have we learned so far this offseason? Cliff Avril wants a huge contract, probably more than the Lions can afford, and the Lions have a huge need at the safety position, especially if Louis Delmas isn’t re-signed this offseason. With that said, the recent releases of Charles Woodson and Dwight Freeney could provide the Lions with suitable starters for an affordable cost. Don’t be shocked if the Lions persue both Woodson and Freeney. Remember, the Lions made moves for veterans Kyle Vanden Bosch and Nate Burleson in free agency when the team was still finding its groove in the NFL, and both players played starting roles for the 2011 Lions who made the playoffs.
Jan 5, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers safety Charles Woodson (21) celebrates a play during the fourth quarter of the NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field. The Packers won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Given the Lions roster as it stands now, I think if the Lions found a way to add both of these players that they will have made huge strides in the right direction for returning to the playoffs, particularly because I think both players have a lot they want to prove.
Woodson is coming off an injury plagued season and a positional change from cornerback, where he was once viewed as the best in the league, to safety, where he probably would love to show that he could excel. Also, you have to think that Woodson would love the idea of playing the Packers twice a year and showing them that he’s still got the ability to produce at a high level. He wants to play for a contender but Woodson has the luxury of being patient as he searches for what will likely be his last NFL stop. With the right moves, the Lions could look more like a contender in a couple months than they do right now.
As for Freeney, he showed he could still play registering five sacks despite not being a good fit for the Colts’ new 3-4 scheme. The poor fit and desire to get younger was enough for the Colts to announce last week that they would not re-sign Freeney.
The two questions all of us have about these former pro bowl players is how much football they have left in them, and how much they are looking to get in free agency. If both players are reasonably priced the Lions should seriously consider making offers to both players, because their ability and leadership would be invaluable, especially for the younger players on the roster who could learn from some of the most dominating players at safety and defensive end in the last 10 years.
This is perhaps the most important offseason for the Lions in a long time and the Lions could fill some serious needs for veteran leadership and plug in starters in this offseason’s free agent period. Last season the Lions weren’t big players in free agency. I hope the front office doesn’t make the same mistake twice.