Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Detroit Lions, masters of the salary cap...

...or in other words, even a blind squirrel finds a nut.

With an unexpected combination of forward thinking and a little luck, could the Lions be major players in the free agent market? They are offically 10.5 million under the cap. More than half the NFL is at or above the cap number, and will have to be merciless in slashing salary. There are going to be ruthless personnel decisions made, and made soon.

For example, Denver released three starters today. TE Jeb Putzier, RB Mike Anderson, and DE Trevor Pryce, gone. Just like that. That's gotta hurt... Could you just hear the biatching and moaning here in the D if the Lions had to cut Marcus Pollard, Kevin Smith, and James Hall? We'd be screaming for Matt Millen's, Tom Lewand's, and the Ford's heads on a pike! Deservedly...

With the mess the NFL and NFLPA have made with the CBA and the current salary cap, the situation is worth watching very closely tonight and tomorrow. We could see mass roster carnage around the league if some sort of extension is not agreed upon. So somehow, someway, the Lions find themselves in a position to actually be major players in the free agent market. And that's without having to make roster cuts. Or for that matter, they could make a cut or two (Say Joey Harrington) and not be as adversely affected as once thought. It's an interesting position for the Lions to find themselves.

Considering all the uncertainty, and talk of an uncapped year in 2007, I doubt anyone makes a big move right off the bat. But once one team takes the leap, a free agent armageddon might break loose. The have-nots will be looking on as the haves, which Lions are one of, have an opportunity to cherry pick some prime talent.

So what should the Lions do? Who do they target? Those are the questions we are all asking. As of now, with everything so fluid, it's hard to say what they should do. Opinions may change if some big time players, who are in their prime, get the axe. And if nothing changes, that will happen.

A QB is the most obvious need, and there are still people in the national media, NFL Network's Adam Schefter, for one, who think the Lions are targeting Drew Brees. I'll believe that when I see it. But it's not out of the realm of possibility. O-line help would be wonderful, wouldn't Steve Hutchinson look great in Honolulu blue and silver? A pass rushing end would be nice, say a Simeon Rice, who's a likely cap casualty. One can dream, right?

I realize that this is just a basic overview of what is currently happening in the NFL. Honestly, I think I'm writing this just to get the facts straight in my own head. It's going to be hard to root against an agreement, as the lack of one will help the Lions. But what about the long term health of the league? What of the infighting between the old school and new school owners over revenue sharing? Could we, God forbid, be on the fast track to a lock out after the 2007 season?

What's my suggestion? For the time being, keep your TV on ESPN News, your radio on sports talk, your web browser open, and wait for the fallout. We'll know tons more by midnight Thursday. Then we'll talk free agent strategy.

1 comment:

  1. As snakebitten as the Lions have been and as retarded as Matt Millen is -- you have to give the Lions credit for the way they've managed the salary cap the last few years. They've made some big-name free agent signings (all busts with the exception of Dre Bly, but let's not go there) without ever really sacrificing the cap like some teams you could mention (*cough* Redskins, Raiders *cough*)