Monday, March 05, 2007

Are 14 career sacks worth 29 million dollars?

Matt Millen sure as Hell hopes so, as that's how much he gave Dewayne White to play defensive end for the Detroit Lions.

This singing has Rod Marinelli's fingerprints all over it. It's a risky move, as White has never been a full time starter in his 4 NFL seasons with Tampa Bay. He was a pass rush specialist whom the Lions hope can be an every down player. The praise said about White sounds very similar to what the Lions have said for years about their current underachieving end, Kalimba Edwards.

I'm torn over this signing. What there is to like is that White is still young, and has that elusive thing coaches and TV talking heads like to call "Upside." There was a reason that he was a 2nd round draft pick, and you hope that going into his 2nd NFL contract, White will live up to that potential.

White should be entering his prime as a player. Most free agents the Lions have signed in the past (Rick DeMulling, Damion Woody, Bill Schroeder, to name just a few) were established starters, but on the downside of their careers. More than anything, they were looking for that one last big payday. Good team, bad team, it made no difference. As Rasheed Wallace once said, "I don't care where I play, just CTC." (Cut the check) The Lions definitely didn't get what they paid for when they CTC with past free agents.

The Lions are gambling, as it's an awful lot of money and cap room to give to someone that has never yet proved to be an every down player. Signing White is a similar to the gamble the Lions took with Edwards when he was re-signed during the off season last year.

Trust me, it was damn hard to find a picture of Edwards actually making a play
Edwards is a pass rush specialist on whom the Lions have been pinning their hopes on for several years. He was given an extension based on his "Upside," in having the potential to become a big time player. There was the hope that Rod Marinelli could bring out the best in Edwards. The "Best" that we have yet to see... With White, the Lions could end up with another Kalimba Edwards. It's a boom or bust type of signing.

From the moves the Lions have made in the off season so far, it doesn't appear that Millen has that much input on the personnel decisions. With his past history, I'd venture a guess that's a GOOD thing. In effect, Marinelli and Mike Martz seem to be telling Millen that there are specific players whom they want him to sign. Considering the majority of players being targeted have some sort of past relationship with the coaching staff, it'd be hard to assume otherwise.

You could say the same in regard to the Dre' Bly trade, the roster housecleaning last Friday, and the apparent ongoing attempts of maneuvering themselves down in the draft. It's just more proof that Marinelli, for better or worse, is putting his stamp on the franchise.

1 comment:

  1. If a team like, say, the Patriots pulled a signing like this, they'd get the benefit of the doubt. That's because they have a track record of making the right choices -- not always, but often enough.

    The Lions... heh, just the opposite. There's a small ray of hope if, indeed, Millen is letting Marinelli choose the players; Marinelli can't be any worse than Matty, now can he???

    On the other hand, it's often a bad sign when a coach or GM raids his old organization. I remember the dark days of the Tigers under Randy Smith, when he kept picking up players from the Padres system. Marinelli gathering scraps from under the Bucs' table could be the same thing all over again. Sigh...