Over the years free agency has been a time of giddy anticipation with little to no payoff for fans of the Lions. Big-splash signings were few and far between, and when notable players were signed they failed to live up to expectations.
Maybe that's not fair to general manager Martin Mayhew. While it's true he sat idle last season during free agency, he's made significant moves and several of them have paid big dividends.
He signed Phillip Buchanan and Grady Jackson in 2009, Kyle Vanden Bosch in 2010 and Eric Wright in 2011. While none of those players could be categorized as elite, they were big-named signings that got the fans excited and—on paper—improved the Lions' roster.
Unfortunately not all of those pickups worked out. Buchanan and Jackson were stiffs who were let go the following year. On the other hand KVB and Wright played major roles in the Lions' making the playoffs in 2011.
A 50 percent success rate isn't so bad, but Mayhew has to do better than that if he hopes to rebuild a roster in desperate need of an upgrade.
Here are the best free-agent targets for each of the Lions biggest positional needs.