Not a group of words that we would expect to see in the same sentence. In fact these are words that I am not sure I have ever, until a few seconds from now, put together.
Are the Lions making a very smart move under our noses right now, without any of us noticing? I think they may be.
Lions brass has stated they are negotiating with several players to be drafted at the top spot. They have also stated that they are interested in trading down. I think that this is, and this is hard for me to say, brilliant.
It has been done most recently by the Dolphins and proves it is wise to have a contract agreed upon before draft day.
We have all seen teams draft a player at the first overall spot, pay a high salary and signing bonus, only to get disappointed. The player does not sign until after the season starts and consequentially is behind for the season. This is a complete waste of time and money that the Lions can not afford.
By getting a deal done prior to the draft that the team is comfortable with, will give the Lions leverage. Leverage equals power, that is what the No. 1 pick is all about. The perception that they are happy with one of these prospects is what is important.
There seems to be an opinion that the lions are in a no win situation having the first overall pick. If they agree to a deal before the draft, this will all change. The pick now has value. If the Lions are fine with the deal in place teams will have to court them.
The Lions have shown interest in Matt Stafford, Jason Smith and others. Any team that has a need to fill and falls in love with one of these prospects will have to make a good offer to make the Lions accept a trade.
Either way, the Lions are going to benefit. First they will have a player ready to sign on the dotted line on draft day. This gives them a full training camp and preseason to get prepared, which in today's NFL is a must.
The second option, a team now has to give value to trade. If some team wants to move up they will have to offer more than if the Lions did not have a deal agreed upon. The lions will be able to make a trade up until the draft because the deal with the draftee will just be a verbal agreement.
If this is intentional I do not know but it seems brilliant to me.