I have been reading the comments at Pride of Detroit and we seem to have one or two guys that are all stressed out about the lack of big name signings by the Lions. I really do not understand this attitude since any person that has watched the Lions over the course of the Mayhew/Schwartz era should know that they are not given to impulsive moves. If anything, the Lions braintrust is methodical and organized.
The attitude of the "Chicken Little" faction seems to be that the Lions need to sign the big names right now before somebody else does. That is not only wrong, it is nonsense, and here is why.
Free agency is, and always will be, a process that is controlled by the players and their agents. You cannot force a player to sign for what you offer. They have to accept your offer. If you are making such a good offer that a player will jump on it with little thought, then you are likely overpaying for that player. All you accomplish by overpaying is putting your team into salary cap problems in later years.
Making offers to free agents is a negotiating process. The teams will make offers and the agents will discuss them with their client and make recommendations. The only way that an agent will recommend an immediate signing is when a player is getting such a good deal that they are not likely to benefit from further negotiations.
This process will often settle into a lot of proposals with counter-proposals. The agents will try to play competing teams against each other to get the best deal for their client. It takes time and patience for a General Manager to reach a deal with a player that does not spiral out of control in favor of the player.
Often the top free agent will dictate the pace of negotiations. In this off-season the perfect example of that is Nnamdi Asomugha. Most of the free agent cornerbacks will not sign deals until after Asomugha does because he is expected to set a new top end salary for the position. Every other cornerback will try to use that new ceiling to negotiate for a higher salary for themselves.
When you are saying that you expect the Lions to sign people NOW NOW NOW, all you are saying is that you do not understand the process and expect Martin Mayhew to make bad deals in order to satisfy your need for instant gratification. in other words, you need to calm down and be sensible.
If you want a valid measuring stick on whether the lions are actually doing poorly in the free agent negotiations then you should look at which free agents are still left available. As long as the guys that you want to sign are still available then you haven't lost anything. Saying that the Lions are messing up when these guys are still unsigned is nonsense.
Just take a deep breath and look at who is still out there:
CB: Asomugha, Joseph, Cromartie, Rogers, Carr, Marshall, and a host of others. that even assumes that the Lions don't just resign Houston.
LB: Tulloch, Barnett, McIntosh, Lawson and a host of others. There are still LOTS of opportunities for the Lions to get another linebacker.
If you want to panic at this point then go right ahead. But all you prove by doing that is that you are entirely whacked out and have no clue.
UPDATE: As I posted this the news broke that Houston signed Johnathan Joseph. While that hurts it is not nearly fatal. There are still plenty of guys out there that would be an improvement to the team at CB. If we sign Asomugha nobody will remember that we wanted Joseph anyway.
UPDATE #2: The Lions picked up a cornerback by signing Eric Wright. Wright seemed to struggle a bit with the Mangini Defense but thrived under the Romeo Crennel defense. This seems to indicate that he plays better in man coverage than in zone. That should suit the Lions just fine. While Wright was not thought of as one of the big names because of his struggles last season the change of scenery to Motown may be just what he needs to return to form. When Wright is playing well he is very good.