Monday Notes: Lions Begin Negotiations with Potential #1 Picks

  • Tom Lewand said on Sunday that the Lions have started negotiations with more than three players that could potentially be the top pick of the draft.  The players weren't identified, but if I had to guess, I would say they are Matthew Stafford, Jason Smith, Aaron Curry, and B.J. Raji (I left Eugene Monroe off the list because there hasn't been a whole lot of chatter about him from the Lions' end, at least not to my knowledge).  Those are the players mentioned the most as possible #1 picks and as players the Lions have interest in.

    Lewand said that rules permit the Lions to sign someone tomorrow if they wanted.  He didn't establish a specific timeline for how long negotiations will take, but I wouldn't expect anything to happen in the immediate future.  I'm sure once April arrives the action will start to heat up and negotiations will get serious.  The beauty of negotiating with multiple players is that the Lions have all of the leverage and can use that to get a deal done sooner rather than later.  I think it will be a similar situation to what the Dolphins did a year ago, negotiating with a few picks and signing the one that accepted a deal to their liking (Jake Long).
  • The Lions are going to run a 4-3 defense.  They will be in the 3-4 every once in a while, but only as a package and not as a base.
  • The Lions will retire Corey Smith's #93 jersey for the 2009 season.
  • Matthew Stafford scored a 38 on the Wonderlic test.  For more scores, click here.
  • A rumor popped up on PFT last night about the Lions, and I think it's necessary to address it.  Here is what Mike Florio posted:
    There's a rumor making the rounds in league circles that the Lions are focused not on Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford, but on USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.
    Considering the Lions haven't hosted Sanchez for a visit or scheduled a private workout with him, I think this rumor is just that -- a rumor.  Stafford has already been to Allen Park, had his pro day, and is scheduled to privately workout for the Lions.  There hasn't been a single mention of Sanchez at all since the combine, and he was only talked about then because he actually went through a full workout.  Even then there weren't any specific mentions about the Lions having interest in him.
  • The annual NFL owners meeting is underway, and apparently there are whispers that some people in the league want the draft to be moved to February, pushing free agency back until a later time.  The reason for such a move would be partly because of the economy, as having the draft in February would cut down on the amount of time league employees have to work (they wouldn't have to go all the way to May when mini-camps take place).  The move would also put less of an emphasis on free agency since teams would already have addressed many of their needs via the draft.

    Personally, I think this would be an awful move if it ever happened.  It is more important to get proven players signed before you have to resort to the draft for needs.  Top draft picks make way too much money as it is, but that is a different topic for a different post.  I understand the thinking behind cutting costs and all of that, but the draft's popularity would be diminished by such a move.  I can't see there being such excitement over the draft if it were held in February.  There wouldn't be time to go through all of the scouting involved and build up the hype like the way it is right now. 
  • As Dave Birkett points out, if a trade involving Jay Cutler were to happen, it is very likely that it could be in the next few days during the owners meetings.  If not now, then I think the next most likely time is the first day of the draft.
  • Former Lions quarterback Jeff Komlo, who had lots of legal problems throughout his life, recently died in a car crash in Greece.
  • After the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament, wingnutfan91 is in first-place of the Pride of Detroit pool with 52 points.  Four people are tied for second-place with 51 points, and I am in sixth-place by myself with 50 points.
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