Detroit Lions: Top 3 Free Agents To Target This Offseason
The Detroit Lions have the look of a team ready to contend after having made the 2014 playoffs. They are at a major crossroads though with a number of starters set to test the open market. The Lions have to make some tough decisions. With Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley both unrestricted free agents it’s doubtful they will keep both. This is the most crucial decision to be made. Some believe that the Lions will do everything they can to sign Suh to a longterm deal. I disagree with that thought. It’s my belief the Lions should part ways the the often troubled defensive tackle and save the salary cap numbers he’ll command. He’s a boneheaded mistake away every year from being suspended. With guaranteed money I believe he’ll feel above the law. I feel sorry for the team that locks Suh up to a longterm astronomical contract as I believe he has all the making of being the next Albert Haynesworth.
Step 1. Sign Nick Fairley.
Part ways with Suh and lock up Fairley to a much less expensive contract. Coming off an injury year Fairley will command less in free agency. Both players have baggage but Fairley is cheaper to gamble on. Draft a DT in the first round as it’s a deep position to get a very good player picking at #23. Henry Melton might also be an option in free agency if the Lions elect to draft an OT in the first round.
Step 2. Pluck Orlando Franklin from the Broncos
The Lions need to improve their offensive line. They struggled with some injuries this year which hampered their running game and saw Matthew Stafford get roughed up more than you’d like to see. I believe the Lions should go after OT/OG Orlando Franklin from Denver. Denver transitioned him from tackle to guard this last season and at 27 yrs old he’s a prime candidate to shore up the offensive line. This allows the Lions to draft a DL in the first round.
Step 3. Sign DeMarco Murray
The Lions haven’t had an every down back who can run between the tackles, catch out of the backfield and pick up the pass rush. If Murray can’t work a deal with Dallas the Lions should snatch him up. Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson might need to restructure their contracts. With Reggie Bush past his prime and injury prone and Bell not having the dynamic skill set of either, Murray could be the missing piece of the puzzle. Murray’s big play threat and ability to pick up the blitz should help keep Stafford on his feet and looking down field for Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. He will open up the entire playbook for Stafford.
The Lions are ready to win now but they must not make the mistake of wrapping up too much long term money in troubled players.