Just when it looked like the Detroit Lions were set to make a move with linebacker Nick Barnett scheduled to visit, they went and signed linebacker Stephen Tulloch, as first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times' Sean Jensen.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Tulloch's deal is for one year and is worth $3.25 million ($1.8 million is guaranteed). That is much lower than the supposed $6 million per year offer reportedly on the table earlier this week. Of course, Drew Rosenhaus did debunk the existence of any such offer, so maybe that's what Tulloch was hoping for rather than what he was offered.
In any case, this is some really great news that comes out of left field. It's not a huge shock that Tulloch is a Lion considering that was the expectation all offseason, but the timing of it is very surprising. On the morning Barnett was scheduled to visit, Tulloch signed with the Lions at a price much lower than anyone anticipated. While the deal is for only one year, the Lions got quite the bargain for a very talented player with experience in this defensive system.
When you consider that the Lions' linebackers for next season are going to be DeAndre Levy, Justin Durant and Tulloch, it's safe to say you can take it off the list of needs. Really only cornerback is in need of more talent at this point, because the linebacker position is in extremely good shape right now.
This is a prime example of why patience is necessary during NFL free agency. Just yesterday it looked like Tulloch was unlikely to land in Detroit, and in the end the Lions signed him for the cool price of $3.25 million. Somewhere Martin Mayhew is smiling and probably thinking to himself, "I love it when a plan comes together."