By: Eric Thomas
The Lions’ off-season has been bad, not quite 2012 bad, but bad nonetheless. It seems to me their free agent acquisitions have been underwhelming, and the draft signals have been troubling.
This year, when viewed in the aggregate, doesn’t bode well at all. A year after one of their strongest off seasons in a decade, where they fixed the offensive line, created a running game, and strengthened one of the worst defensive secondaries in league history; they’ve spent the last few months treading water. For a team that claimed they are on the cusp of winning, they’ve done nothing to spackle their biggest holes in the off-season.
Here are the five worst ideas from the Lions off-season 2014:
1. Attempting to re-sign Ndamukong Suh – He’s the best DT in the league, but he’s just too expensive and the Lions have needs elsewhere. This has nothing to do with his style of play or the fact that he hired Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports to represent his affairs. This is a math problem, and Suh plays a position that doesn’t have enough impact on the field to command that salary and a raise.
2. Signing Golden Tate – This one not so much an “idea” anymore, as they did it; the team has bigger needs. Golden Tate can catch—a rarity among Lions WRs who aren’t nicknamed Megatron—but the team’s defensive secondary is among the league’s most porous. They paid too much for him. They could’ve waited for the draft and grabbed one of the plethora of available WR talent coming out of college. Instead the Lions signed a player Seattle wasn’t willing to pay.
3. Trading up for Sammy Watkins – Watkins is special, but he’s one player. Betting the farm on a single player has never worked for any team, ever. Fans may swoon when they look at Watkins’ game film. They may get the vapors when they think about the Watkins / Megatron tandem, but overcommitting to a single position has never worked (“Suh AND Fairley?! Who are you going to double team?!) and trading up handicaps your teams for years into the future. Who’s picking number two in the draft this year and why?
4. Jadeveon Clowney – You’ve got to be kidding me. Among Lions ideas, this may be the worst. First of all, HOW MANY 1st rounders do you need on the defensive line? Clowney pulled 2013’s most well-publicized disappearing act and gave rise to the theory that he took his junior year off to enrich himself in the pros. Is that true? Or is it possible that teams, after seeing his highlight hit on Vincent Smith, decided to account for Clowney and take him out of games? NFL teams do that, against more experienced players (SUH, FAIRLEY, ANSAH). Clowney disappears from games in a variety of different ways, and he did so in 2012 before he became a household name. Trading up in general is a terrible idea, but it’s even worse if they do so to get Clowney. Nightmare scenario: Clowney drops to number ten in the draft and the Lions pick him. Remember the commitment questions that hung around Fairley’s neck? Isn’t that the reason they didn’t pick up his option for next year?
5. Still trying to sign Ndamukong Suh – This makes the list twice for different reasons. Suh not showing up for offseason workouts, due to what Reggie Bush calls “contractual reasons,” is unacceptable. Suh apparently mis-read his contract, because there are still years left on the deal. He’s entitled to instruct his representation to apply the squeeze, but there’s no reason he can’t show up for work at Allen Park. Suh, in his deeds not words, has made it obvious that he has no interest in continuing with the Lions. He’s too expensive, and one could conclude that he sees himself somewhere above the team. Lions fans and management needs to read between the lines: he’s just not that into you. It would have been stupid for the Lions to sign him before, and now it makes even less sense. Suh needs to go, and it would be better to do it this offseason, before the Lions have the NFL equivalent of Dwight Howard on their hands.