Predicting Detroit Lions’ 5 Biggest Free Agency Moves
Predicting The Detroit Lions' 5 Biggest Free Agency Moves In 2014
The Detroit Lions have already started their 2014 offseason. Just today, the Lions released veterans Nate Burleson and Louis Delmas, saving nearly $10 million in salary cap space. This added money will be used to re-sign some of Detroit's high-priority free agents and to sign some veterans that can help the team in its quest to win the NFC North.
The Lions are expected to be very active in free agency after undergoing a complete transformation in the coaching staff. Head coach Jim Caldwell takes over command in Detroit with new coordinators in Joe Lombardi on offense and Teryl Austin on defense. With plenty of offensive talent and some intriguing defensive pieces, the window is slowly closing as the Lions look to win the NFC North for the first time in over 20 years.
Offensively, the Lions have plenty of talent in QB Matthew Stafford, RB Reggie Bush and WR Calvin Johnson, but could still use some complimentary pieces to play with these star players. RB Joique Bell is a restricted free agent and is likely to get a long-term contract, while TE Brandon Pettigrew is not a slam dunk to return to the Lions as he is an unrestricted free agent. Defensively, the Lions need to shore up their secondary and add another front seven player or two to create a potentially great defense.
Defense will be no doubt be the main priority when free agency begins. Look for the Lions to target those who have experience in Lombardi's and Austin's systems. Here are my top five free agency moves for the Lions in 2014.
5. Robert Meachem
With the New Orleans Saints, Robert Meachem was one of the many receivers that Drew Brees had at his disposal in a high-octane offense. With the Saints starting to go younger at their skill positions, Meachem is unlikely to return to the Saints. With former offensive coordinator Lombardi now in Detroit, Meachem would not have to change schemes or systems should the wide receiver take a deal with Detroit. Meachem would have a chance to be the second receiver behind Johnson.
4. Arthur Jones
With Arthur Jones expecting a big payday this offseason, the Baltimore Ravens would have a hard time trying to keep the defensive end in Baltimore. In Detroit, Jones would fit in his old scheme under Austin and be a complimentary defensive end opposite Ezekiel Ansah to give the Lions a fierce front four.
3. Roman Harper
Roman Harper was just released by the Saints this week and still has some gas left in the tank. With the Lions releasing Delmas due to injuries and inconsistency, Harper can step right in, moving Glover Quin to free safety and putting Harper at his position of strength at strong safety.
2. Corey Graham
Another former Raven, Corey Graham fills a need for the Lions at cornerback. Graham is not a shutdown corner, but he is a solid slot corner who can cover the likes of Randall Cobb in Green Bay. Graham would vastly improve a troublesome secondary.
1. Joique Bell
The top priority for the Lions this free agency season is to re-sign Bell. The running back gives the Lions an excellent tandem with Bush, and has the ability to get the tough yards in short-yardage situations. Bell is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield, making the Lions offense more explosive.