#AskASideLion : Bye Week Blues Edition


Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The good news is that there is no possible way that the Detroit Lions can lose this week. The bad news is that, even though it’s painful to watch, we won’t see any Detroit football this week. After the Terror in London and a 45-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, it seems that the wheels have fallen off. The firing of Joe Lombardi did virtually nothing to light a fire.
If you would like to submit a question for next week’s edition use #AskASideLion on either Facebook or Twitter. The five best questions will be chosen and answered. Without further ado, here is your “Bye Week Blues” edition of #AskASideLion.

How long is left on the contracts of Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford, and what do you think we could get for them?Nick D.

Calvin Johnson’s contract is up after the 2019 season, when he will be 35. His cap hits for the next four seasons, in order, are $24 million, $21.3 million, $17 million, and $18.5 million. Those are the numbers that the Lions have to pay if Johnson is still on the team. If they decide to cut him their dead cap money, in order is $12.9 million, $4.8 million, $3.5 million, and $0. It is pretty clear that Johnson will be in a Lions jersey for 2016, but beyond that it’s hard to justify the high cap numbers to an aging wide receiver.

Stafford’s contract is up after the 2017 season. The next two seasons Stafford’s cap hits are both $22.5 million per season. His dead cap numbers are $11 million next season and $5.5 million for 2017.

These two are not trade-able at this point. The Lions would owe Johnson roughly $12.8 million upon trading him. They would owe Stafford $11 million upon trading him. Trades in the NFL are viewed the same as a release, in terms of contracts. The team that is acquiring players is responsible for that players contract, but not bonuses.

Why is Jim Caldwell still the head coach?Caleb W.

I am going to play devil’s advocate with this question. If I were in charge, he would be gone. Actually he wouldn’t have been hired in the first place. But, that is why I am answering questions through the internet and not an NFL executive. For sake of argument, Caldwell finished 11-5 in his first season. Yes, expectations were high for the 2015 team, but it is clear that they could not overcome weaknesses in personnel. Caldwell should be doing better with the hand he has been dealt.

Ownership is incredibly loyal. They stuck with Matt Millen for 7 years,Wayne Fontes for 7 years, and now Martin Mayhew for 7 years. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Caldwell coaching this team again next year for two reasons : Lack of ability to hire elite coaches, and the Lions have to be sick of paying two coaches at once (they have paid Schwartz and Caldwell both last and this season). They would be paying Caldwell and a new coach for the next two seasons if they decide to fire Caldwell.

The opposing defense blitzed nearly every time from the right side and hit Stafford. Why didn’t they help the right side of the O-line? It was obvious every time the Chiefs blitzed.  –Michael K.

This has been happening every game this year. If you are an opposing defense, you key on the weakness of the offense. It is clear to anyone that has watched the Lions, that there is a complete void at right tackle. Whether is is Waddle or Lucas, doesn’t seem to matter much.

Part of the equation is both Stafford and the rest of the offensive line making good pre-snap reads, they are not. Even in instances when they are making the proper reads, they are being outworked. Most of the blame goes to the zone blocking scheme, and the fact that all of the offensive lineman that they drafted were not fit for zone.

Next: New Ownership? Be Careful What You Wish For

Have the Lions taken over the Cleveland Browns as the worst team in NFL history?Chad L.

Since 1957, the Cleveland Browns have won have won 7 playoff games. Pretty amazing considering that they weren’t even a team from 1996-1998. Like the Lions, they have never been to a Super Bowl. If it wouldn’t have been for John Elway and the Denver Broncos, the Bernie Kosar-led Browns would have been in at least one, if not two Super Bowls, after losing the AFC Championship game twice to the Broncos (1986 & 1987).

We all know the Lions history. One playoff win since 1957. 1991 NFC Championship game against the Redskins where the Lions lost 41-10. Not to mention that I don’t recall the Browns ever going 0-16. As much as it pains me to say it, it is reality. The Lions are the worst team/organization in NFL history.

More from SideLion Report

If John Harbaugh somehow becomes available do you see him taking the HC job?Mike G.

I personally don’t think that John Harbaugh will be fired or resign after this season. His past success can negate the awful season that the Ravens are having this year. Harbaugh’s record including this season is 74-46. Since he took over in 2008 the Ravens have not won less than 8 games. The 2012 Ravens team won the Super Bowl. The Ravens are currently 2-6 and will most likely finish the season with their worst record under Harbaugh.

If Harbaugh becomes available, he will have his pick of any openings. It is hard to imagine that he would want to become part of the disarray that is the Detroit Lions organization. With his brother Jim coaching down the road in Ann Arbor, you may get him to want the Lions job for sentimental reasons. But as I alluded to in a previous question, I do not see Jim Caldwell getting fired unless the Lions fail to compete in the second half of the season.