Detroit Lions Free Agency: The NFC North Could Be In For a Ruud Awakening

Kyle GibbonsAnalyst IIIJune 11, 2011

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 16:  Linebacker Barrett Ruud #51 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackles wide receiver Marques Colston #12 of the New Orleans Saints during a week-two NFL game on September 16, 2007 in Tampa, Florida.  The Bucs won 31 - 14. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Martin Fennelly, a columnist for the Tampa Tribune, believes that free agent middle-linebacker Barrett Ruud's asking price is too much for the Buccaneers to pay.

It was revealed that after a dominant 2009 season, in which Rudd made 142 tackles, that he was looking for a contract along the lines of a $48 million, six-year extension.

Prior to 2010 season, Ruud was “furious” about his contract situation, saying to the St. Petersburg Times, “You'd like to think your results speak for themselves. ... You always want to be rewarded for your performance. That's kind of the bottom line.” 

Ruud was displeased with the apparent disregard of his longterm deal, while Tampa Bay invested over $100 million for 3rd overall selection Gerald McCoy and tackle Donald Penn. 

The intuitive Buccaneers middle line backer stated that he even considered walking out of training camp as a result of the dispute. 

In the end, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Barrett Ruud agreed to a one-year contract extension worth $3.268 million.

Ruud is widely considered the heart and soul of a young Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. It is ridiculous that the team, so focused on building around young head coach Raheem Morris, would let one of the better middle linebackers in the National Football League walk. 

It looks as if his pursuit of a lucrative contract would be better suited in the open market of free agency. 

That’s where the linebacker-starved Detroit Lions come in. 

I firmly believe that former Wisconsin standout DeAndre Levy is the linebacker of the future in the Lions organization. I just think that his speed and aggressive nature are better suited at the outside linebacker position. 

The acquisition of Barrett Ruud would give the Lions a much-needed field general at the defense’s second level. 

Ruud is a 28-year-old instinctive middle linebacking monster that has averaged a team-best 114 tackles in each of his last four pro seasons. In the 2008 season alone, Ruud registered 137 tackles, three sacks, six pass deflections and two interceptions. 

Durability has been one of Detroit’s greatest concerns in rebuilding the promising yet struggling franchise. Barrett is the epitome of the ironman moniker, only missing one game in his entire six year career. It would be beneficial for a young Detroit Lions team to see a veteran leader of Ruud’s stature play through injury. 

Barrett Ruud is exactly the type of aggressive playmaker that Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew and head coach Jim Schwartz covet. Look for Mayhew to make a play on the disgruntled middle linebacker once the new collective bargaining agreement is established. 

It would definitely be beneficial to the Detroit Lions if Barrett Ruud was in Honolulu Blue and Silver come opening day at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fl.