Sitting at 6-2; I started thinking about some of the FA's we signed in the off season and of course naturally how there all panning out.
So who do we keep? What do we pay em? And who do we say farwell to?
I believe one of the many reasons we are doing so well this year is because we have been building a program around a firm foundation of players. Yes we have had some solid drafts in 3 years and we have had great success with FA signings and trades courtesy of Mr. Martin Mayhew. I took at look at the lists and like any other team; I know the Front Office is going to have a busy and stressful summer.
Stephen Tulloch - There should be no question about this nor any debate. In my mind, we just replaced Stephen Boyd or maybe even Chris Spielman. He has played very well for us and manages to stay healthy (knock on wood) despite how hard he plays. This guy was a tremendous upgrade to our defense and I would want him to be a Lion for at least another 5 years.
Shaun Hill - Backup QB's are priceless and if you don't have a good backup, you have a smaller chance of producing a winning season. You can't expect to get a Matt Cassel performance; you can only be thankful if it happens. Shaun fits well with us and should stay with the Lions.
Jeff Backus - ahhhhhhh................ Deep thought! He's been a Lion for over 10 years and he's been healthy for the whole stint. Backus has been around for a long time and even though he has gotten better with Rob Simms by his side, he still has nightmares of elite pass rushers. I say resign him for 2 more years BUT make it a big priority to rebuild and possibly upgrade through next years draft. I would also have a conversation with him about taking a pay cut :-)
Cliff Avril - As expected... and feared; he's having arguably his best year in Detroit and shows no signs of slowing down. Our DLine has a lot of names, a lot of stories and a lot of attributes but other than KVB, Cliff just works his ass off to pay make plays and he takes advantage of playing next to Suh. I'm just freaked out that he is going to want a ton of money and I can see other teams willing to pay him what he wants. I want him back but I have a bad feeling he is going to want way more than we are willing to spend. I predict Cliff leaves.
Eric Wright - He's been solid, and has been the perfect compliment to Chris Houston. I absolutely love our secondary right now and we need to bring him back. I read in the Free Press that he likes it here and wants to stay long term. As long as we don't give away the farm like we did with Burleson; it should be an easy sign.
Drew Stanton - He likes Detroit, we like him here and as long as he stays cheap; might as well keep signing him.
Maurice Stovall - Hasn't really made any kind of impact and I really don't expect him too because of all the other weapons we have. I wouldn't make resigning him that big a priority.
Ashley Palmer - A solid special teams guy and shouldn't cost much to resign.
Bobby Carpenter - As long as he stays cheap; keep his ass around because he can play in Detroit.
Maurice Morris - I really like Maurice Morris but we will potentially have 2 healthy backs already and Mayhew might want to go younger. Cut him loose.
Stephan Logan - The new kickoff rule has made Logan much less effective for us. Logan is a RFA and I don't see any teams making any significant offers to get him. Let him role.
DeAndre Levy - RFA next year and is proving to be part of the ultimate solution. A team desperate for an LB might make an offer considering he has shown to be able to play both Middle and the Outsides however unless its a significant sum, i see the Lions matching it.
Sammie Hill - This should be really interesting in the off-season. Sammie doesn't get a bunch of playing time but when he does he demands a lot of attention from O-Linemen and I can see a team coming in with an attractive offer that he may not be able to refuse. Right now he is with Nick Fairly on the rotation for the interior lineman. Even though this system works; players are going to want a shot at starting and he knows he won't have that shot being the #4 on our team right now. He is a RFA and I can see a team making him a significant offer and the Lions choosing to let him leave.
Rashied Davis - Has he even played yet? Cut him loose and sign somebody who can stay healthy.
Corry Hilliard - I wouldn't notice if he stayed or left. Let him go and resign him later if we can find anybody better.
I'm fairly certain that's everyone but I could be wrong. Right now I believe the Lions 3 biggest priorities are in the order of:
1. Stephen Tulloch
2. DeAndre Levy
3. Cliff Avril
What worries me is that we are one 1 1/2 years of having to sit down with Calvin Johnson and literally making him an offer to become the highest paid player in the NFL. I think Calvin wants to be a part of the finished product that he helped create and I see him staying.
Thoughts on this list guys, I'm all ears.