So far, the Detroit Lions haven't been active at all in terms of signing free agents. This comes as no surprise, as all along they have said that their focus would be primarily on re-signing their own guys rather than going out and spending a bunch of money on other free agents. That said, the Lions are bringing in at least one free agent for a visit.
Former Panthers OL Geoff Schwartz will visit the Lions on Friday— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) March 13, 2012
Schwartz was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft. In 2009, he appeared in all 16 games and made three starts. In 2010, he actually started in all 16 games. A hip injury kept him out all of last season, and the Panthers decided to move on by not tendering him an offer (he is a restricted free agent).
According to Pro Football Focus, Schwartz is a versatile offensive lineman. He can play either guard or tackle, and in 2010 he had a pretty good season.
When the Carolina Panthers opted against tendering Schwartz, there was a collective gasp from the PFF team. Sure Ron Rivera wasn’t in charge when Schwartz managed to finish 2010 with a PFF grade of +12.3 despite playing two positions, but it wouldn’t have been hard to watch some tapes and see he’s got more talent than anything they can currently put out on the right side of their line. Schwartz offers the kind of versatility and talent that brings to mind a poor man’s Marshal Yanda; good enough to make him the best right tackle available and possibly the best value guard too. He has a very real chance to be this year’s Evan Mathis for a team with a diligent scouting department.
Based solely on reading that, Schwartz sounds like a pretty good option for a team like the Lions. Depth isn't exactly great at guard or tackle, and starters like Stephen Peterman and Gosder Cherilus could use some added competition. Schwartz seems like he could provide that competition and perhaps even put himself into the mix for a starting job if he plays like he did in 2010.