Detroit Lion's Task: Pursue Seasoned Veterans
With the NFL Draft nearing, many fans are forgetting there are still free agents out there. Free agents that can help our team.
While Detroit has been rather quiet on the signings front as of late, I still believe there are plenty of free agents that can help our team.
Many remaining free agents will likely wait to sign with a team until after the draft, and see what role they would be able to take on, but if Detroit was smart they would aggressively pursue these players now.
One that is a not so obvious name is former Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck.
Bulluck has shown no signs of slowing down, but coming off an injury could scare away a few teams. He had one of his best seasons last year with 108 tackles (81 solo), three interceptions, and did all this despite missing two games during the season.
Nature shows his injuries don't linger long, as he has only missed one game while either playing or starting in every other game since his rookie year. And with the presence of former Tennessee defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, Bulluck may be pursued heavily to be a veteran presence alongside former teammate Kyle Vanden Bosch.
Brown, another veteran, had one of his best seasons last year with the Chiefs. However, he has had few bites from prospective teams, a bit of a shock to me.
But Brown signing in Detroit would make him the starter alongside Louis Delmas, pushing Bullocks and Ko Simpson into the backup role (which is great for depth I might add). Along with that, a bit of revenge could be in the wings for the former Bears safety, who could easily produce 100 tackles and one to three interceptions.
Last year, Mike had 103 tackles (79 solo) and three interceptions. He is a safety who can handle 100 tackles and show the aggressive nature that Detroit needs at the safety position.
That is something that may help Cunningham in his defensive gameplans, and with a safety who has the drive that Brown has could be what the secondary needs to help the younger players learn and thrive.
Brown would be priority No. 2.
Now let's jump to the offensive side of the ball for a moment.
Former Cardinals offensive lineman Mike Gandy is currently on the free agent market, and could be the veteran lineman needed to join other veterans Jeff Backus, Dominic Raiola, Stephen Peterman, and Jon Jansen.
While Gandy wouldn't become an immediate starter, the chance to compete for the spot alone should be enough for Gandy to consider the rising Lions.
Gandy is coming off an injury this year, and lost his job to fellow left tackle Jeremy Bridges on the Cardinals earlier this year. Also, he was told that he won't be pursued by the Cardinals because they think he is on the decline.
Imagine Gandy when he was told he was on the decline. If it were me hearing that, I would be driven to show my former team I can still perform, and perform at a high level.
Why not try to do that on the line that offers one of the best opportunities for a starting position? It'd be a low risk for both Gandy and Detroit, as he could sign a one year contract much like the one Jansen did last offseason.
Gandy would be priority No. 3 on the market.
Another player who is connected to a current Lions coach is offensive coordinator and former Rams head coach Scott Linehan's product Kevin Curtis.
After being released from the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month, Curtis became unrestricted despite signing a six year, $32 million deal in 2007.
Curtis now probably realizes his best chance is not to be a number one, but to return to the the coach who was able to advise him, and let him go and sign a deal like he did.
And that coach is Detroit. Now, we know Calvin Johnson is the number one target and Nate Burleson is no one to ignore, but having Curtis could help make Matt Stafford's job easier. Curtis could also work with the youngster Derrick Williams.
Curtis didn't produce much last year after being buried on the depth chart behind DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, and Jeremy Maclin, leading to his dismissal from the team. Not to mention the fact that he had knee surgery at the beginning of the year, causing him to miss the first 12 games of the season.
Another injury comeback story for the Lions, making Curtis priority No. 4.
Lastly, we get to former Super Bowl winner DeShea Townsend of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Townsend opted to become a free agent this offseason with due cause, losing his starting job and being forced into the role of a nickel package corner.
In Detroit, Townsend could have the starting gig back, and even be the tutor for the young players that play on the edge like Chris Houston and Jonathon Wade.
Townsend also had a down year, due to the decreased role, and only amassed 27 tackles. While that was better than his 2008 campaign, where he only totaled 20, in Detroit he could have around 50. With a ring already on his finger, Detroit could satisfy his financial need for a season and extend his contract the following year.
That makes five players; Townsend is the last veteran priority for Detroit.
Also take note: there are other players that need to be pursued, and then there are ones who will likely not be sought after (T.O., anyone?).
Now the question for you is: what player would you pursue the heaviest?
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