Setting Odds for Detroit Lions Signing Their Top 7 Free Agent Targets
You've read many articles claiming to have the best free-agent fit for the Detroit Lions or listened to radio hosts scream that the Lions can't let Willie Young walk. But has anybody really put into perspective how likely any of these moves are?
They have? Are you sure? But did they do it using betting odds?
Good. Because it's not really a probability article unless you're using a system that can lose you money.
Trust me. I know.
A quick aside before we dive into it. The odds are denoted by a negative or positive number at the bottom of each slide. If an odd is listed at -200, that means you have to bet $200 to win $100. And if it is listed at +200, that means you would win $200 with a $100 wager.
Now, quit screwing around and click through.
All stats, grades and rankings are courtesy of Pro Football Focus and require a subscription.
Running Back Joique Bell
This is what those in the industry call a sure thing. In fact, this bet would be taken off the board so the house wouldn't lose money.
The Lions discovered Joique Bell. He's a great complement to Reggie Bush and has demonstrated he can handle the load when called upon (270 total yards in two starts).
Plus, his free agency is restricted meaning the Lions can match any offer another team tenders. It also means if another team did sign him, it would have to part with a high draft pick for the privilege.
Lock it down.
Wide Receiver Eric Decker
Eric Decker is going to get No. 1 receiver money. He's the top option in a league that continues producing record-setting passing seasons every few years.
He'll be a hot commodity, which will drive up his price considerably. It will also drive the Lions out of the bidding war.
The Lions need to address the receiving corps that drops off dramatically after Calvin Johnson. They'll either need to use a high draft pick or find a better value in the market. They don't have the cap space to make a play here.
Tight End Brandon Pettigrew
Let the debate rage on the up-and-down tight end from Oklahoma State. Brandon Pettigrew's versatility makes him a commodity that plenty of teams will covet this offseason.
But Pettigrew isn't without his flaws. For starters, he's had some trouble holding onto the ball (13 drops in the past two years) and his run-blocking was suspect last year earning a -9.1 in that phase.
He will turn 29 before the start of next season so he probably doesn't have many opportunities left to earn a lucrative long-term contract. A one-year prove-it deal like the one handed to Stephen Tulloch ($3.25 million) a few years ago would make a lot of sense.
Safety Charles Woodson
The Lions are likely to cut ties with Louis Delmas thanks to his tough-to-swallow $6.5 million salary creating a big need at the back of the defense.
Martin Mayhew might not use a high pick on a safety considering all the holes in the roster, and there's little to suggest the Lions could land one of the big fish on the market. Basically, Detroit won't have many options unless they shortchange another position.
So could they take a shot on Charles Woodson? He would provide some leadership in a secondary beset by youngsters and can still make a play or two. And, more importantly, he'd be cheap.
But those savings will bring some concerns as well, like the 16 tackles he missed last year.
Defensive End Willie Young
Willie Young was Detroit's secret weapon heading into the 2013 season. Unfortunately for the Lions, that's no longer the case.
He's a young pass-rusher who broke out with 48 quarterback hurries thanks to a huge increase in playing time. There will be no shortage of suitors giving Young all the leverage he could ask for.
That's not good for the cash-strapped Lions. It would take a minor miracle by Mayhew to keep the rising defensive end in Motown.
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
More than a few pundits have pegged Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as a future Lion. He'd certainly be a great fit.
At 6'2", Rodgers-Cromartie has the ideal size to challenge wide receivers in the air and the long arms to make getting off the line of scrimmage difficult. New defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is surely salivating over the thought of adding the rejuvenated cornerback.
But he should grab a napkin and be sure not to hold his breath. After finishing the season as the fifth-highest rated cornerback in PFF's rankings, DRC won't come cheaply.
Quite simply, the Lions won't be able to match the big-money offers that are sure to be showered on the former Cardinal and Eagle.
Cornerback Rashean Mathis
If the Lions hadn't switched coaching staffs, the return of cornerback Rashean Mathis would have been much more likely. Mathis thrived in departed defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham's system, but all that familiarity is now lost with Teryl Austin's arrival.
Austin has stated that he likes long, physical corners who aren't afraid to tackle. Mathis has the size (6'1", 195 lbs) but missed six tackles last year.
The secondary has been the weak spot for this franchise for the past decade. If the Lions don't plan on spending a high pick on a corner, it'd be surprising for Mayhew to let Mathis walk.
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