Detroit Lions: 6 Veterans Set to Be Released That the Lions Could Pick Up
There are six veterans that could be cut during the 2012 NFL Free Agency period that should pique the interest of the Detroit Lions.
Everybody wants to land the steal of the draft. An unknown fifth-rounder who goes on to have a 10-year seven-time Pro Bowl career. Rarely does this occur, especially in today’s NFL with the research involved prior to the draft.
When the draft does not provide all the necessary players, teams turn to free agency and pay the premium price for the men they value.
After that, we get to the cut veterans. Players that are unwanted by their own teams—be it for financial or performance reasons—these elder statesmen become available and are normally signed for reasonable price.
Following are six players who will likely fit the latter category and become available. Some will be coveted, while others will head into free agency relatively unnoticed. Either way, it would be in the Lions' best interest if they kicked the tires on this six-pack of veteran players.
DeMeco Ryans: Inside Linebacker, Houston Texans
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2012 Salary Hit: $7.2 Million
DeMeco Ryans averaged over 120 tackles per season playing in a 4-3 system in his first four years in the league.
In 2010 he was injured and only played six games, the only season he ever missed a game, and then Wade Phillips came to town with his 3-4 system and the team improved, but Ryans was a fish out of water with only 64 tackles.
He’s only 27 years old and could probably be had for less than Stephen Tulloch. The Texans have other backers that fit the 3-4 system better and Ryans’ salary of $7 million is expendable.
This is the type of player that is likely to be released, and the reason I continue to urge fans to be patient with the Tulloch negotiations is because he’s not indispensable.
The Lions are no longer the ugly duckling that need a desperate one-way love affair. Like Ferris Bueller said, “You can’t respect someone who kisses your ass, it just doesn’t work.”
Glenn Dorsey: Defensive Lineman, Kansas City Chiefs
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2012 Salary Hit: $5.8 Million
OK, Gunther, here’s your chance.
Detroit Lions Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham cost the Lions a draft pick as he salivated over Glen Dorsey back in 2010, and now he may finally get his wish.
Dorsey is a three-technique defensive tackle that made the move to the 3-4 end position when Todd Haley took over as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Now, with Haley gone, it will be more of the same with Romeo Crennel keeping the 3-4 philosophy.
Gunther was the DC in Kansas City when they made Dorsey the fifth pick in the 2008 NFL draft and was influential in the drafting of Dorsey. Cunningham only was there for his rookie season, and he would like nothing more than to prove to everybody he was right about the big fella from LSU.
Defensive tackle is obviously not a position of need for Detroit, but if the price is right, the 27-year-old would make Corey Williams expendable, even though publicly Martin Mayhew has said Williams is going nowhere.
Thomas Howard: Outside Linebacker, Cincinnati Bengals
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2012 Salary Hit: $2.4 Million
He racked up 99 tackles last year, his fourth season of nearly 100 tackles and now looks to be the odd man out with Manny Lawson and 2011 third-round pick Dontay Moch ahead of him in the pecking order for next season.
At 28, he’s young enough for many more productive years and comes from good stock as his father Thomas Sr. also played linebacker in the NFL. Playing in an awful Raiders defense as a weakside linebacker, he’s undervalued.
With Justin Durant entering the final year of his contract, it would be nice if the Lions had a viable, economical replacement on the roster with NFL experience when Durant comes looking for his big payday.
Yeremiah Bell: Safety, Miami Dolphins
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2012 Salary Hit: $5.8 Million
With a new coaching regime going to Miami, Yeremiah Bell will probably be shown the door.
The 33-year-old strong safety has had four consecutive 100-plus tackle seasons and has missed only one game in that time period.
Yeah, he’s old but could find the fountain of youth in Detroit similar to Darren Sharper and his last couple years in New Orleans. Let’s not forget, Bell is a captain and an All-Pro just two years ago.
It wouldn’t hurt Detroit to have an old buck for the young safeties to learn some tricks of the trade from and coming to a defense predicated on putting pressure on the quarterback, the Lions could squeeze a couple more years out of Bell.
Shawntae Spencer: Cornerback, San Francisco 49ers
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2012 Salary Hit: $4.2 Million
The turnaround in San Francisco has made the pickings ripe for some older sloppy seconds.
Shawntae Spencer is 30 and will certain be let go this offseason.
In 2009 and 2010, Spencer was the No. 1 corner in Frisco and played admirably defending 19 passes with five interceptions.
Spencer will not compete for a starting spot in Detroit, but could be a nice upgrade at the nickel back position.
Jammal Brown: Offensive Tackle, Washington Redskins
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2012 Salary Hit: $4.6 Million
It’s hard to find serviceable offensive tackles in free agency, but Jammal Brown might become available.
The Redskins starting right tackle is a former Pro Bowler during his time in New Orleans protecting Drew Bree’s blind side at the left tackle spot.
A torn ACL in 2009 ended his season before it began and allowed Jermon Bushrod to slide into his spot.
At 30, he’s on the backside of his NFL career. But with the limited resources at the disposal of the Lions, a veteran swing tackle that is familiar with pass blocking 50 times a game may be a good fit for a reasonable price tag.