Detroit Lions Rebuild: Someone Has To Stay


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I’ve already taken a look at some of the hard choices that the Detroit Lions will face during the rebuild, but the hard choices will keep on coming.  Curiously, one of the toughest questions the Detroit Lions will face in the upcoming offseason is who will be a part of the long term rebuild?  Who stays is as hard or harder than who goes, since there is no compensation to consider.

What Can Be Salvaged?  Who Deserves To Be?

Quick, your house is burning.  You can only grab a few things, and it is from those things that you will rebuild.  Do you grab your photo albums, to remember your past fondly?  Do you grab your toolbelt, not fancy but useful?  Maybe a stash of cash, hoping you can purchase what you need to rebuild?  Maybe some amalgamation of the three.  That’s the type of choices the yet-to-be-named Detroit Lions general manager and team president will be facing in the 2016 offseason.

A team trying to rebuild will need draft picks, so it makes sense to offer up some of your players in the hopes of building youth and talent at multiple positions.  That doesn’t mean you put a firesale sign out front and let every taker leave with something.  Someone has to mind the shop after all.  I’m not just talking about the quarterback, which I’ve already spoken to.  Someone has to play safety, or center, or middle linebacker after all.  If compensation isn’t significant in a trade or replacement options aren’t tempting, you could do worse at a position than a Stephen Tulloch.

I’ts been a foregone conclusion for some (rightfully) that some players currently on the roster won’t be here moving forward, and in the midst of a rebuild that’s even more apparent.  That changes somewhat once a rebuild is started.  We as fans see the big holes, but the roster is more porous than you think, even if you realize that it isn’t as talented as most Lions fans are willing to admit.

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You need players to round out your roster, from top to bottom.  Some of them aren’t going to be great, well most of them, but you still need to field a competitive football team.  This is going to lead to  some questionable retentions and even more questionable signings. It’s part of how this whole rebuild process works.  Do you remember who the Lions big acquisitions in 2009 were during their last rebuild?  33 year old Anthony Henry (final season).  28 year old bottom tier WR Bryant Johnson. 29 year old journeyman returner and corner Philip Buchanon.  31 year old Julian Peterson.

What about re-signings, surely they retained some talent?  Aveion Cason.  Ramzee Robinson.  Stephen Peterman.  Keary Colbert.  Only Peterman would make the final roster of those.  It was a brutal offseason and the Lions lost players like Roy Williams and Cory Redding. Rebuilding is painful for an organiztion, and sometimes you have to let talent leave to rebuild your stock.

Players like Stephen Tulloch and Jason Jones, long thought on their last legs with the organization, might be cut for cap space but also might be retained just to have a veteran presence on an otherwise likely to be youthful roster.  Fans tend to dislike Dan Orlovsky because of his history with the 2008 squad, but he’s been nothing but class since signing here and isn’t a sure bet to be cut loose.  Some players we all just assume will be gone will still be sporting a Honolulu Blue and Silver jersey next August, you can bet on it.

What do you think?  Will the Detroit Lions retain any of their veterans in their rebuild?  Will the younger players on the fringe of the roster be given a bigger role?  Will they load up on draft picks and build from the bottom up?  Let us know in the comments or get ahold of us on Twitter @SideLionReport or myself @MathBomb!

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