Lions Hitting the Mark in Free Agency

A+ Offseason So Far for Detroit

3/14/13 in NFL   |   Andrew_Ericksen   |   230 respect

Blog Photo - Lions Hitting the Mark in Free Agency3. The D-Line
 
They were called one of the most disappointing units in all of the NFL last season, and it’s really hard to argue against that.  With Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch on the ends and Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley on the inside, the Lions were expected to wreak havoc on opposing O-Lines.  But that just never happened.  Suh had a disappointing year all-around and Vanden Bosch struggled to make plays all year. 
 
The Lions didn’t want to invest the necessary money to lock down Avril and also made the decision cut Vanden Bosch.  Additionally, they added former Titan and Seahawk Jason Jones for a contract worth only $9.5 over 3 years - a bit less than half the total cost of Avril’s two-year deal with.  With 19 sacks in his 5-year career, Jones comes at a bargain.  He’ll most likely be joined on the end by Willie Young, who recently signed on for a $2-million tender for 2013.  In limited playing time last year, Young showed a lot of flare on the field, and could be a great candidate to breakout as a playmaker for the Lions defense this year.
 
But in the thick of all of the transactions, the Lions received a bit of help from Suh, who took a pay cut on his salary to free up over 7 million in cap space for the 2013 season.  Both a sign of maturation and his desire to play for a legitimate playoff contender, Suh’s gesture shows a lot to his commitment to the team.
 
4. The O-Line
 
With Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus gone, the Lions lose about 30 false starts and 20 holding penalties a season, so even though their spots need to be filled still, you can really only go up from there.  Backus gave his heart and soul to the team, setting the franchise record with 187 consecutive starts, but if I had a nickel for every time a penalty of his stalled a Lions drive, I would have been able to pay for Bush’s salary on my own.  Well, at least cover a few of his nights on the town.
 
The Lions still have extra cap space to sign a Tackle or could draft heavy on the line this coming draft.  Either way, Lions fans will find life without 76 and 77 a lot more rewarding.
 
5. The Bottom Line
 

Overall, the Lions will be spending about $17 million this year on the 5 starters they just locked up, quite a bargain for 4 players that have solid NFL experience and a fifth (Young) who has shown a good deal of promise in limited time.
 
Here is a look at how their recent contracted players stand in 2013:
 
Reggie Bush - $2 million
Chris Houston - $5 million
Glover Quin - $5 million
Willie Young - $2 million
Jason Jones - $3 million
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