Sep 22, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Tyrunn Walker (75) against the Arizona Cardinals during a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Cardinals 31-7. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
The next step was to buy cheap production. It can come from many places, but the best comes from hidden places. Tyrunn Walker for example is $3,250,000 less than Nick Fairley, but was graded out higher than Fairley by Pro Football Focus. Walker also recorded more tackles and sacks in 2014 than Fairley did. Nick Fairley has a recognizable name though. Which makes him a commodity as far as ticket sales goes.
The Lions also brought in Haloti Ngata for $10,562,500 less than Suh and still find themselves with Pro Bowl caliber production. Make no mistake, Ndamukong Suh is the best at his position. But what team wins championships with only one or two players that are the best at their position? TEAMS win championships, not names, ticket sales, jersey sales or endorsements.
The Lions made other cheap productive moves like signing cornerback Josh Wilson and linebacker Brandon Copeland. Even though Copeland hasn’t played a down in the NFL, he should be able to fit nicely into the scheme.
Next: Smart Recruiting?