How the Lions' Bid to Acquire Derrick Dockery Fell Apart

Despite visiting the Lions yesterday, offensive guard Derrick Dockery ended up signing a deal with the Washington Redskins.  Since then, details of what happened have been reported by various sources, and we now know that the Lions were a lot closer to bringing Dockery to Detroit for good than originally thought.  What's more, the Lions were minutes away from trading for him on Thursday.

Dockery was a member of the Bills on Thursday, and Buffalo planned on releasing him for money reasons.  According to Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News, around 2 p.m. ET on Thursday -- two hours before the deadline to release players -- the Lions got in contact with the Bills to talk about trading Dockery to Detroit.  The two teams talked about the trade over the next couple of hours, but an agreement wasn't reached until minutes before 4 p.m. 

Since Dockery was set to receive a roster bonus at 12:01 a.m. Friday, the Bills would have had to ask him to delay it in order for there to be enough time for a physical to be completed.  Here's the problem: The trade was agreed to so close to 4 p.m. that the Bills didn't think they had enough time to file the necessary paperwork that would have pushed back the roster bonus.  Because of that, the Bills decided to just release Dockery, making him a free agent.

My opinion on this is that even if the Bills had more time, no trade would have happened.  From what I understand, Dockery would have had to authorize the Bills to push back his roster bonus, which essentially would have authorized the trade as well.  Since Dockery probably knew he was going to be released, why would he accept a trade when he was going to become a free agent instead?  Some might suggest that he wouldn't want to lose his contract and the money that goes along with that, but I disagree.

According to the Washington Post's Jason La Canfora, the Lions were not only going to pick up the rest of Dockery's seven-year, $49 million deal, but they were also going to guarantee this and next year's part of the contract.  On top of that, the offer the Lions made to Dockery yesterday was the same thing.  They were going to offer him the remainder of the deal he had with the Bills and guarantee his salary for 2009 and 2010.  Dockery strongly considered the offer, but in the end he opted to sign with the Redskins for around $3.5 million less than what he would have got in Detroit.  Part of that I'm sure is the fact that the Lions are, well, the Lions.  But don't forget, Dockery played in Washington the first four seasons of his career, so there was definitely an appeal to return to where he started.

Aside from the fact that the Lions came so close to acquiring Dockery both via a trade and as a free agent, the most disappointing thing is that all the Bills would have received is a seventh-round pick in 2010.  Anytime you can acquire a player for only a seventh-round pick, you usually come out with the better part of the deal.  That's probably what I'm angry about more than anything.  The Lions put together a solid trade to make sure they filled out the starting spot at left guard, but they didn't do it quickly enough.  Because of that, Dockery became a free agent and the Redskins scooped him up.

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