Offensive tackle Marcus McNeill had his visit with the Detroit Lions on Friday. Like all of the other notable free agents that have visited, McNeill left without signing a deal with the Lions. A big reason behind this is because he is waiting to see what happens with the Lions and Jeff Backus. If Backus re-signs with the Lions, he will be penciled in as the starter at left tackle. If the Lions are unable to re-sign Backus for some reason, then McNeill might be the man to replace him.
"Of course, they have Jeff Backus, and he’s been a great pro for many years for them here," McNeill said. "Of course I have issues, and it is a business here, so if they’re going to part ways, I would love to come play left tackle for Detroit. But it is a business, so you have to wait for them to make decisions first, and I’m pretty sure they have a lot more commitments and time put in already with Jeff, so he’ll probably be their first priority."
McNeill did say that he doesn't expect to "take that much time" in deciding on a new team. He also said that since this is the first time he is going to be playing for a team other than the San Diego Chargers, he wants to narrow his list of possible teams down and "make the best decision."
Whether or not signing with the Lions is what will end up being McNeill's best decision remains to be seen. The Lions made a "very good impression" on him off the bat, according to McNeill, but a lot will depend on what happens with Backus.
While that situation gets figured out, McNeill plans to take visits with the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs next week. There seems to be a lot of interest in him, which makes sense since McNeill has been cleared by doctors to play. If the Lions want him as a replacement for Backus, they may have to act quickly.