The Detroit Lions signed Matt Asiata, which means the team will move on from Michael Burton at fullback. That means the fullback position could be revived in the Detroit offense in 2017.
When I originally heard the news that the Detroit Lions signed Matt Asiata I thought nothing of it. But bringing him in meant losing fullback Michael Burton, which makes me think Detroit intends on him being a vital offensive piece.
Last week, the Memorial Day weekend buzz became a reality as the Detroit Lions officially signed ex-Minnesota Viking running back Matt Asiata. He came in for a workout a few weeks back; however, he left without any paperwork being signed.
This left me to believe the team didn’t see enough from him to make a move and perhaps were still intrigued by LeGarrette Blount.
Well, fast forward a few weeks. Blount is an Eagle and the Lions still didn’t like what they had in their backfield. So they decided to sign a stellar touchdown vulture to add to their crowded running back position.
Now what’s most interesting here is the cutting, rather than the signing. Had the Lions decided to part ways with an undrafted free agent or Dwayne Washington, I would have assumed that Asiata was going to be competing with running backs for carries.
However, it seems that the Lions and Asiata have agreed that the best place for him is at the fullback position, leading to the cutting of Burton.
Burton, a 2014 Lions draft pick, has been solid during his time in the league, but he’s not in a situation that needs him right now. Detroit made this evident when they finished the season out with Burton not dressed for the games.
A fullback is great, but when you only have a 53-man roster, every spot needs to bring extended value.
This is why Asiata makes sense, maybe even more sense than Blount would have. It seemed like over the last few seasons the Vikings were using him less and less as a runner, and more as a blocker/one-yard fall forward guy.
This makes sense when you have Adrian Peterson, but still it showed the Vikings valued Asiata enough to give him some touches.
It will be interesting to see how training camp works out for Asiata and the Lions. His signing brings a lot more to the table than the Stevan Ridley signing last year. Asiata seems to still have some gas in the tank, whereas Ridley was washed up before ever suiting up.
Right now I see him making the team, being the team’s primary fullback (if they ever even choose to use one) along with their short yardage option they’ve been missing for the past few seasons. Either way, nobody can hate this signing if he goes out on Sundays and helps Detroit get a win.