Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday, 7/16/07's main point: Redding signing won't save Lions

ON FOOTBALL

The Detroit Lions like to do this.

They'll sign a player — that is, one body — and hype him as a player who can save the franchise.

Dre' Bly, Charles Rogers, Roy Williams, Mike Williams, Calvin Johnson, even Joey Harrington. And, of course, back in the 1990s, the great Barry Sanders. They've all been tabbed as "prime-time players," guys who can make a huge impact on the field. The Lions pay them "the money," or draft them very high with the hope that their investment will turn the losses into wins.

Um, well, this strategy hasn't worked.

But, apparently, that hasn't stopped Detroit from dealing. This morning arguably the worst franchise in the NFL — and some will say all pro sports — made Cory Redding the highest-paid defensive tackle in football with a seven-year, $49 million contract which includes $16 million in guarantees.

Good for the Lions. They now have a happy defensive tackle. But that's about it.

This is not a team that can afford to have happy, satisfied players on its front lines. We all know what has transpired since Shaun Rogers became the highest-paid DT after getting a six-year, $46 million contract. Yeah, last year he was banned four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy, and he just was mixed up in a strip club incident (although the charges were dropped).

A few players with big contracts aren't going to save the Lions. This franchise needs young, hungry guys who want to win. This franchise needs team guys, not guys with imbalanced contracts that could cause jealously or animosity in the locker room.

Quick, who had the best season last year for the Lions? How about wide receiver Mike Furrey, who was making $544,620, great money for any of us, but spending money for big-time athletes.

Based upon the season Redding had in 2006 (48 tackles, eight sacks) and his health (he played all 16 games each of the past three years), he's a good player to hold onto. But the Lions overextended themselves in giving into his contract demands. So what if he was threatening to hold out from training camp. If he followed through on that, then a team that's trying to find the right mix of guys to gain some sort of respect shouldn't want him.

Make him play another year as the franchise player. Tell him if he puts together another solid season, he'll be rewarded with a good (but not outrageous) contract at season's end. Heck, tell him his new deal will depend on how many victories the Lions salvage this season.

The Colts had every right to reward Dwight Freeney with a six-year, $72 million deal last week (the highest ever for a defensive player). They're the Super Bowl champions. He's the leader of their underrated defense. It made perfect sense.

The Lions, on the other hand, don't even belong in the same league as the Colts right now. So they shouldn't be paying the big bucks for individual players. Once they become a winner, fine.

Until then, they should focus on finding the right mix of dedicated, insatiable players to stop the late-night talk show hosts from making joke after joke about their franchise.

3 comments:

zekejennings said...

I totally agree, Jake. Also, it's too bad it took the Lions three years to figure out that Redding should be playing tackle and not defensive end. It's also too bad that the team used the 37th overall pick on Shaun Cody in 2005. Cody was suppose to be the replacement for Dan Wilkinson, but the team already had that in Redding. They were just too stupid to realize it. Granted you need depth on the D-Line, but they could have used that pick to get a starter for the long-neglected offensive line or on any number of other needs.

It might be different if Cody had panned out, but his two two years haven't been anything to brag about. When you're picking that high in the second round, you need to be drafting starters, not back-ups.

Tyler Hampton said...

I'm not the biggest expert on Detroit Lions football so I can't really comment very knowledgably on it, but I do know a thing or two about football and I know that when you have been, and currently are, a losing team you shouldn't be shelling out big cash for one player that probably isn't going to be making you a playoff contender.

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