Chris Simms? Lions Should Take a Chance

Mick MillerAnalyst IJuly 15, 2008

You can already hear the noise. Another Tampa Bay player? Aren't there any other teams in the NFL to deal with or former players of other clubs?

The Lion quarterback situation is hardly ready for much beyond this season. The fact is that a contingency plan must be in place if current back-ups Dan Orlovsky or Drew Stanton aren't NFL-caliber signal callers. 

As usual there is a lot of pressure in Detroit.

After such a long record of futility, the team has  scrambled year after year in an attempt to get back to the playoffs. Dan Orlovsky has played in two games since being taken in the 5th round in 2005 and has had a host of offensive coordinators and coaches. We simply don't know if he's ready.

Last season's second round draft choice Drew Stanton was placed on the injured reserve list after sustaining a knee injury in camp and is yet to even see any game action, pre-season or otherwise. Mike Martz is gone and since he tore down his entire game, rebuilding it to fit his offense, he is a rookie all over again.

Jon Kitna is a career back-up with a couple seasons as a full time starter.

He is well into the twilight of his playing days and is a year or two away from retirement. Lets face it, he isn't Brett Farve and playing beyond the age of 38 is not an attractive option for the Lions and for Rod Marinelli to keep his job during that time frame, he is going to have to get a bonafide productive starter at the position.

This is what makes Chris Simms a sensible gamble.

He won't be 28 years old until near the start of the season, has starting experience, and enough upside in the right system to be successful. He has the "quarterback pedigree" from his father Phil, a salary in the $2 million range, and an availability that would mean a low round, stipulations-added draft choice to acquire him.

He is currently fifth on the Bucs' depth chart; he is not going to be there this season so the Bucs need to move him.

The quarterback situation in Detroit has a distinct pecking order as it sits. It is Kitna, Orlovsky, and Stanton. There isn't an open competition nor should there be. Bringing in Simms, who has drawn interest from the Bears and Cowboys as well, would be one of the wiser moves the Lions could make without forfeiting much of the future. 

The Lions are getting the point in the Marinelli era where some significant results are needed.

Improvement, steps forward, a competitive product on the field. Marinelli has a knowledge of Simms and the team has done ample business in acquiring Tampa players for the knowledge of the coach, their defensive system, and for their "football character". Simms has proven a toughness (coming back from a near fatal spleen injury) and would be a smart move on Matt Millen's part were he to bring him in.

Why let him go to an NFC power like Dallas (who need a back-up to Tony Romo) or worse yet, a division foe like the Bears who are in need as well who may be close to landing former Lion Kevin Jones as well?

With camp opening soon, Detroit would be wise to make this move.