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About DC47

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  1. He would be insurance that the Lions would not sign Kris Durham. There's value in this, but probably not before round 4.
  2. We have something like $4M after allocating money to sign rookies. Given that a FA signee can be heavily back-loaded, they can do something with this. More important, the Lions have potential to extend Ngata and restructure Stafford and CJ. They can get a little or a lot of cap space -- whatever they want. The 2014 draft class has a lot of potential for a big improvement. They were weak in 2014 largely due to serious injuries (Van Noy, Lawson, Jones), drafting Swanson to develop as Raiola's replacement in 2015, drafting raw projects (Webster, Reid), and using their #1 at a position that is known to be tough to play in year one. There's a lot of potential for help here.I don't care much about the 2010 and 2011 classes being 'nothing.' If the Lions had over-paid to keep players from those classes (Suh, Fairley, W. Young), this wouldn't be true. But the Lions would be worse off. They also dealt several picks from these classes, and had poor injury luck (Best, Spievey, Fox, T. Young, Leshoure). They weren't strong drafts, as it turns out. But they were far from GM strikeouts that display seriously bad judgment. As I recall, the Lions did well enough in 2012 (Reiff, Whitehead, Broyles, Bentley) and great in 2013 (too many hits to mention). Luck evens out. The Lions have done well over the past five years in the draft from my point of view. Every team always seems to need to hit on it's current draft. It's always nice. But unless you're drafting near the top in round one, a single draft class is rarely so critical. Especially not in terms of year one impact. Drafting in the 23rd slot, without picks in rounds 4 and 5, indicates to me that the year one impact should be expected to be modest. But drafts are crapshoots, so you never know.
  3. Yes: Suh + fairley > Ngata + Walker But I think there's considerable value in the cap room now and later, plus the option to extend Ngata and Walker. More value here than in the talent differential in the players above, plus the differential of the draft picks that were involved (including comp picks). So it's a slight win for the Lions. But so slight that it's essentially a wash. The team is not materially better or worse right now than they were last week. The teams success in the next few years will depend on something other than the aftermath of the high-profile loss of Suh. The next draft, the next few significant free agents, player development (especially Stafford), and luck (especially long-term injuries) are the bigger factors.
  4. I'm pretty comfortable with the progress the Lions have made with Mayhew. On balance, he was dealing with something pretty close to bare earth when he took over, even though CJ was in the fold. Bad talent, bad contracts, bad front office and scouts. Mayhew was also young when he took over, and didn't have any training under a quality GM. It takes time to get out from under the contracts, hire better staff in all functions, and go up the GM learning curve yourself. In my view his free agent moves have been quite good. His last three drafts average to good. The teams' recent record is also good. The play-offs are a crapshoot as to who you play and how it comes out, so I'm not deducting any credit for zero wins there. Mayhew responded well to the Suh and Fairley situations. He avoided the overpays and immediately addressed the DT position in a way that didn't cause a big drop-off in talent, while putting them in a good cap space position, with the option to extend Ngata. I also like how the Lions are set up for the future. They have lot of draft picks in 2016. They have lots of cap space, giving them a chance to extend Levy and others as well as add talent now (back-loaded) and especially in 2016. I like the current coaching staff. That's a lot to like. It doesn't mean the Lions will do great in 2015. There's too much chance in football for anyone to be confident of their record. And much is in the hands of the players not the GM. But I like where they are, how they got there, and what the future generally looks like. It could be that the Lions have found their first good management team since I became a fan in 1961. At a minimum, there are many positive signs.
  5. MLive's Justin Rogers has the cap space at $4M, which includes Walker and signing rookies. But it seems to me that they have considerably greater ability to sign players. Ngata, CJ and Stafford have the potential to be restructured; there's a lot of cap space in 2016 to move cap impact to. Tulloch might face a pay cut (and may have already agreed to an unreported one), as it's hard to believe he has that much leverage. Potential cuts include Broyles or Ross, Lewis or Stanford, Tapp or Taylor, Cudjo, Orlovsky, Carey. Only Broyles offers much relief, and he has $280K in dead money. I imagine that in addition to money to add players in the next few months who offer clear upgrades as starters or rotation players, they'll want to have at least some cap space to add low-cost camp cuts, or add players during the season.
  6. Tate was worth 50% more than his contract last season. He has more years to go, but you've got to be happy with the way his tenure in Detroit has begun. With him and Calvin, and the potential shown by Ebron, the Lions are in good shape at those positions. If the RB they will soon add can catch passes, then they are well set in the receiving aspect of the passing game. I don't see a need to spend serious money or high draft picks on a slot guy. There are only so many targets in a game. And Ross, Broyles and Fuller as a group are okay in limited roles. All have upside in this role as well as in being back-ups to the two primary receivers. In general, I'm puzzled about the deep concern for the contracts Detroit players have received. When guys like Calvin and Tate play like they play, they are providing good value for the money. That's been true of Suh in the past. Stafford is at least in the ballpark. Yes, the Big 3 have taken up a high percentage of the salary cap, largely due to the timing of their rookie seasons. But they have played well. The real concern with guys who make big money is if they are seriously injured or chronically under-performing. The only money the Lions have had to bear of this type in recent years has been Houston. And that wasn't a big deal. In general the Lions big and medium contracts (e.g., Tate, Quinn, Tulloch, Sims, Pettigrew, Bush) have turned out pretty good on balance. Obviously, not every player, every year. But on balance. That's why they were so good last year, despite bad draft classes from '10 and '11; those are hard to overcome. When significant contracts play out so well, so often, it's a combination of good judgment by the GM and luck. In this particular area, the Lions have had both in recent years, in my view.
  7. The papers report that Tulloch will return. Does this mean that his contract is unmodified? If they make a deal with him so that his salary is considerably lower, is it required that this be made public according to some time line? I'd be glad to have him back. But only if he's making something under $3M and this hasn't been offset with any bonus payment or future guaranteed money.
  8. I seriously doubt Suh will sacrifice anything to address the cap situation. He knows the Lions have cap management options other than asking him to do something that reduces the present value of his next deal. The only issue for him will be how his contract is structured over time. Back-loading may suit him fine, as long as it's guaranteed. So too with big money immediately that can be spread. This will be true with any team he signs with, not just the Lions.
  9. What will it take to sign George Johnson?
  10. DC47

    2014 Draft

    I expected something like 30 catches and 400 yards, with weak blocking, from Ebron in a full season. Adjusting for the games he missed, that's about what he delivered. Ebron is frustrating, but I try to remember that TE is a hard position to play as a rookie. Next year? Significantly improved blocking, and something like 45-50 catches and 600-700 yards. More if he plays most downs. That's not earth shattering, but it represents significant improvement. And it would be a big help to this offense. I'd expect more for several years after that, as long as the Lions' offense isn't too bad. Along the lines of roughly 50-70 catches and 700-1000 yards. If he can do this, he will have done well enough for a #10 first round pick in an offense -- at least for the next few years -- with two star receivers who get a lot of targets. Judging Ebron, and thus the 2014 draft, at this point is like predicting how a relationship will turn out after three or four dates. In most cases, lots of water has to go under that bridge before you know much of anything.
  11. I agree that Stafford is in the Rivers, Ryan, Tannehill group in terms of performance. He's paid on the high side, but some of them are now or will soon be making similar money. In my view, he's in the high end of this group in terms of potential. He's played for several years. But it may well be that only now is he getting good coaching and has a good set of skill players around him. That's two of the three things that can really help a young QB. The third was definitely missing last year -- a strong offensive line. That crippled the running game, which hurts the passing game. It also obviously directly hurts Stafford's passing. With another year of good coaching and good skill players, and a better offensive line, I think Stafford has good potential to move up a rank on the list of QBs. With a team with play-off talent, I don't think it makes sense to trade Stafford and hope that a rookie QB will do better. Nor is any free-agent likely to match his potential. So while he's a frustrating guy to watch due to what appears to be accuracy problems, I think he's the one you go with.
  12. DC47

    2014 Draft

    The 2014 draft hasn't turned out well, even including the non-drafted free agents angle. But that doesn't mean it won't. This was a draft that was pretty heavy on 'projects'. Reid and Webster were obviously not ready to contribute and were drafted for their potential. I don't know the particulars with Jones, but was he drafted knowing that he might have an injury that would keep him off the field? Swanson ended up playing, and doing okay. But he is a case of using a third round pick for a player that you hope will contribute in year two. The first and second rounders were not projects. They were expected to contribute in year one. But the injury to Van Noy essentially turned him into a 'wait until year 2' player. And Ebron was somewhat of a project just because he plays TE, which is a hard position to pick up in year one. So to a significant extent, I think Mayhew knowingly drafted a project-heavy group of rookies. Then it got worse, as above. They didn't get much from this group in 2014. But it appears to me that it's still a promising class. The only real wash-out appears to be the kicker. And they got a good prospect, albeit a project, in the tackle Lucas as a non-drafted player. Ebron showed enough, at a tough position, that I think he's got a good chance to work out fine. Van Noy didn't get a chance to show much, but there's no reason to think he's not loaded with talent. Swanson looked good at center in limited play. The projects Reid and Webster have a year as pros under their belt. All accounts suggest that they have the raw talent to be players with more experience in the NFL, which they are beginning to pick up. This is good news for 2015. The Lions got little from their draft class last year. But they have a pretty good chance to get a lot more from them this season. As a class, they stand to have a greater-than-average second year improvement.
  13. Houston came in for a lot of fan abuse in his final year in Detroit. That's a given when you have a big contract and you aren't playing well. I don't know the stats, but my memory is that Houston was often matched up against #1 receivers, and did quite well -- until he was injured. He was playing with bad wheels, and that ruined him. Before then, he was as good as Slay and Mathis in 2014, which is pretty darn good. During this past season I often wondered whether he recovered from his injury while watching Vaughn and Seisay being beaten.
  14. You're right. I should have said that his contract combined with his health and age was such that it would have been a big risk for the Colts to not have cut him. Luck has obviously worked out great for the Colts. But I wonder if they would have dumped Manning if his contract was modest. I think there's a pretty good chance they would have dealt the pick used to take Luck, which would have brought in a lot of value.
  15. I actually said that teams don't use high picks on QBs if they have a good one who is not old, injury-prone, or near the end of a contract. Or they have a great roster, and thus few 'need' positions. When the Packers picked Rodgers, Favre was 36. They also had a very good roster. The Patriots didn't use a high pick on Brady; I think it was a 6th. The Seahawks didn't have a good QB when they drafted Wilson. They also had a very good roster. Manning was old, severely injured and at the end of his contract when the Colts drafted Luck
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