NFL Detroit Lions

5 Overrated NFL Free Agents the Detroit Lions Should Avoid At All Costs

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5 Overrated NFL Free Agents the Detroit Lions Should Avoid At All Costs

NFL Free Agents Detroit Lions
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions are entering the 2014 offseason in the same predictable scenario as many of the previous teams before. For yet another year, a new coaching staff will have to find a way to bring the Lions to sustained success. With the Lions' salary cap situation, the team cannot afford to keep paying big-time money to highly touted players. The team also can't afford to go after some overrated free agents this offseason.

While the Lions have to be aggressive and are in a win now mode, they can’t be wasting their money on players who don't make any sense. The Lions have to make sure that the players they bring in this offseason aren’t going to hinder their team from an opportunity at a division title. The Lions have been notorious for overpaying overrated free agents over the years.

This year will be no different. In the NFL, each team will give at least one free agent a big deal but will eventually wind up being disappointed. Much like the NFL Draft, teams will hit on most of their free agents in a given year, but in some cases teams wind up really disappointed with their free agent signings. Bad contracts can't be avoided, but when it comes to free agents they hurt a little more. And when a player is paid better than their on-field performance warrants, teams are set back by years with these terrible signings.

The Lions will have to find good players in free agency this year. They need to take chances, but they have to be judicious and not throw around money towards the big name free agents. These five guys can't be signed by the Lions this offseason.

Brian Kalchik is a writer for rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and connect with him on Google.

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5. Dennis Pitta

Dennis Pitta
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Former Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell will most definitely be looking for his former players to help teach his system to the Lions. The biggest name out of these offensive players who are free agents is tight end Dennis Pitta.

More often than not, the biggest name free agents do not always re-sign with their respective team. Pitta is coming off a major hip injury, and the Lions can't afford to take another chance on an injury-riddled player.

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4. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In trying to address their weak secondary, teams normally pluck players off of Super Bowl winning teams hoping that their success with their previous team will translate accordingly. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, after a good career with the Arizona Cardinals, has been a major disappointment.

With the Philadelphia Eagles, Cromartie was a bust. Last season with the Denver Broncos in a contract year, Cromartie had a surprisingly good campaign. The Lions shouldn't take the chance on which Cromartie will show up.

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3. Brian Orakpo

Brian Orakpo
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Pass rusher Brian Orakpo from the Washington Redskins is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL but only when healthy. After Orakpo tore his ACL two years ago, he had an okay 2013 season but nothing like he had before.

The Lions need to stay away from Orakpo to avoid the next coming of Jason Jones, a big name free agent who can't stay healthy.

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2. James Jones

James Jones
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

In looking for the complement receiver to Calvin Johnson, the Lions would be tempted to weaken their division rival Green Bay Packers by signing receiver James Jones. The Lions should avoid this at all costs.

Another NFC North team tried this last year with the Minnesota Vikings grabbing Greg Jennings, but they didn't get the production they wanted. Packers players are good just in their own system, and when outside of Green Bay they are major disappointments.

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1. Jairus Byrd

Jairus Byrd
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

More often than not, the biggest name free agents are not the answers for most teams. In the case of the Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd is the norm rather than the exception.

On a losing team in Buffalo, the safety regularly held out and was a nuisance to the organization. If the Lions start to go in the tank, why would they expect Byrd to change?