The Detroit Lions’ offseason agenda is so hazy, not even a fortune teller could predict it.
Mark your calendars because March will be a big month. March 8 is when the free agency flirting begins followed by the March 11 date of when signatures and dollar signs can be inked into contracts. The Detroit Lions can start camp two weeks earlier than the normal April 21 offseason workouts because of the recent signing of new head coach, Jim Caldwell. These dates are creeping up, and the decisions are about to be made.
What should fans be ready for in the weeks leading up to the May 8 2014 NFL Draft?
The recent $10 million added to the salary cap has created a decent amount of wiggle room for the Lions this offseason. With approximately $22 million owed to Ndamukong Suh this offseason, the Lions hope to restructure and move to an even more wiggle-free salary cap. This restructuring could possibly give the Lions $5 million extra in cap space. Signing the upcoming draft class will take away a chunk of that change, but it leaves room for maybe one or two signings in free agency.
The tight end position requires attention this offseason. With Brandon Pettigrew the best tight end available in free agency right now, it has become a priority to sign him. The Lions could very well draft a tight end in May, but do fans want to see the Lions draft a tight end early in the draft in hopes that he could fill Pettigrew’s role at that position? The risk of drafting a hopeful tight end in the early rounds of this draft, rather than a receiver or secondary player, will be a rather questionable decision made by general manager Martin Mayhew’s staff.
Last year, Mayhew’s strategy took a bit of criticism when the organization drafted a punter in the fifth round, but that investment has seemed to payoff so far. Let us see if that criticism comes full circle when Mayhew drafts a kicker in this year’s draft. At 39-years-old it is obvious that David Akers is running out of gas and this is the reason the Lions will not be re-signing him. There could be an answer in one of the aging free agents the league has to offer, but look to see the Lions drafting a kicker in the late rounds of the draft this May.
Since the kicker and tight end position will most likely be addressed in a different way than the draft, what should Lions fans look forward to in this year’s free agents?
There will not be enough money to hope for any receiver out of the top 10 free agents, but do not be surprised if the Lions sign a receiver like Ted Ginn or Brandon Lafell from the Panthers, or hope Hakeem Nicks would come for a reward over risk type of deal.
Kenny Britt is another interesting name on the list of free agent receivers. His controversy in Tennessee and limited play seems to outweigh the potential he has. This type of deal would be much like a one-year trial contract that would come cheap.
There are spots in the secondary that could use a veteran free agent like Pittsburgh’s Ryan Clark or Chicago’s Charles Tillman to plug up some holes in the defense. Lions fans could be hopeful to sign a free agent on both sides of the ball.
But for the organization to thrive, they might only look to patch one hole through free agency.
Chris Boggus is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.