The word is out already. The Lions were able to talk a few of their key players into taking a pay cut for the upcoming year. Key core players such as QB Matthew Stafford, DT Ndamukong Suh and WR Calvin Johnson were all able to rework their contracts in order to be able to save the Lions an estimated 11 million dollars for the upcoming year as well as over 40 million in the next 3 years. (Associated Press) reports that they were able to defer a lot of their salaries for the 2012 season into signing bonuses to be able to save money for the team against the cap.
These key changes have allowed the Lions to continue winning the off-season by allowing them to be in the running for WR Darrius Heyward Bey (former Raiders 1st round pick). This would be a great upgrade for a team that lost WR Titus Young earlier in the off-season (released due to attitude issues) and is in desperate need for another wide receiver to compliment Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles (who missed last few games due to injury). The key thing for the Lions in terms of Heyward Bey is the speed aspect. He ran a 4.35 in the 40 yard dash and would add a speed receiver to the Lions to pair up with the receivers and tight ends (along with newly acquired HB Reggie Bush) to make Stafford happy for years to come.
Stay tuned for more updates on the Lions this week as talks are heating up with the projected pick for the Lions at #5 now switching to the defensive side of the ball. (AP broke news of Lions LB Justin Durant being signed by the Cowboys at the time of this post).
The Detroit Lions were able to sign a few of their own free agents as well as filling in some basic needs with free agents from other teams. The decision to resign CB Chris Houston to a 5 year deal was a decision deemed necessary by management to allow the team to focus on a different position in the upcoming draft. The Lions also decided to sign S Glover Quin (previously with the Houston Texans), as well as HB Reggie Bush (of the Miami Dolphins, previously a 2nd overall pick). The Reggie Bush signing was key to give the team a compliment to HB Mikel Leshoure who was drafted in 2011 to be a compliment to HB Jahvid Best. The injury bug though has threatened to end the career of Best by the age of 25 (numerous concussions). This led to the signing of Bush who is the same style of running back. Another key signing by the Lions in the last week was DE Jason Jones (previously with Seattle) who played college at Eastern Michigan. He fits the scheme on defense because of his previous time with coach Jim Schwartz in Tennessee. This was a key signing due to the fact that the Lions lost DE Cliff Avril to Seattle earlier in the day (He signed for 2 years/$15 million).
Some people view the re-signing of S Louis Delmas whom the Lions drafted from Western Michigan a mere 4 years ago but has been injured most of his career, as a key re-signing for the defense. He is a legitimate play-maker on the defense when healthy and can make the defensive calls due to his experience in the scheme. He was resigned for only a 1 year deal (to make sure he is back to full health).
These signings were deemed necessary by most people within the organization but also allows the team to draft either on the offensive line or a linebacker in the upcoming entry draft of college players. The Lions have been linked to OT Eric Fisher from Central Michigan, CB Dee Millner from Alabama and even OLB Jarvis Jones from Georgia with the #5 overall pick in the draft.
Stay tuned for more updates on the draft with the LionsDen!