At the start of free agency, I wondered if it would be appropriate to write this post since I felt the Detroit Lions were most likely going to bring back Eric Wright. As it so happens, the Lions weren't the only team that wanted the services of Mr. Wright, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended up snatching him up on the second day for $37.5 million over five years after several teams had shown interest in him. Whether that money and high level of interest in Wright is justified remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure now: the Lions need to add a cornerback, whether it is a starter or a depth guy. After the jump are three names that I feel would suit the Lions very well.
Update: It looks like some sites have Brandon Browner listed as a free agent, while others do not. Either way, Browner is not a free agent.
Domonique Foxworth (5'11", 178 pounds) | Previous Team: Baltimore Ravens
Among last year's first-round pick Jimmy Smith, Chris Carr and standout Lardarius Webb, Foxworth had pretty much become the forgotten man in Baltimore, even though the Ravens signed him to a four-year, $28 million dollar deal just three seasons ago. While he had a decent campaign in 2009 for the Ravens, he has been pretty injured the last two years. His injury issues started in 2010 when he hurt his right knee in training camp and missed the entire season. He tried coming back last season but ended up playing only in two games before being put on injured reserve. He was released earlier this month.
What he brings to the table: In terms of physical abilities, Foxworth is a perfect fit for what the Lions have gone after in the past. He is just about six feet tall and is one of the fastest cornerbacks in the NFL when healthy. Coming into the 2005 draft, Foxworth ran a 4.34 40 time and even had a low time of 4.26. In short, he is a more injury-prone version of Chris Houston, who has worked out pretty well here in Detroit.
Foxworth was also the Ravens' NFLPA representative and played an active role in the new CBA negotiations, which means he would bring a type of leadership to the secondary that has been missing, much like Kyle Vanden Bosch brought to the defensive line. The key here is obviously the knee injury. It's generally not an injury that players can come back from in one season or even two. It's something that takes time, which Foxworth will have with this offseason. If he is fully healed, he would be a great bargain for the Lions.
Car comparison: Mitsubishi 3000GT
Terence Newman (5'10", 193 pounds) | Previous Team: Dallas Cowboys
Not too long ago, Terence Newman was thought to be one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL, making the Pro Bowl twice in a three-year span between 2007 and 2009. The last couple of years, his play has dropped, which combined with his $8 million salary in 2012 and the fact that he is 33 years old, made him a cap casualty last week. Still, Newman remained fairly healthy for someone who is 33, missing only two games (both last year) in the last three seasons. Combine that with his experience and you have a suitable candidate.
What he brings to the table: I think Newman could quietly be a guy that comes in and contributes or starts for a season or two before calling it a career. He should be more than good enough to rotate with Aaron Berry opposite of Chris Houston, which would give the Lions enough time to both assess where Berry is in his progression and possibly draft a replacement if need be. The problem with going after a guy like Terence Newman is that he reminds me a lot of Anthony Henry, who the Lions acquired via a trade with the Cowboys in 2009. Henry was 32 when the Lions traded for him and was downright terrible in Honolulu blue.
Car comparison: Mercury Grand Marquis
Marcus Trufant (5'11", 197 Pounds) | Previous Team: Seattle Seahawks
Yup, we're talking about another cornerback from Seattle. In many ways, Trufant is the opposite of Browner. He is old at 31, but a proven NFL talent who has been the Seahawks' "number one" corner since 2003, when they drafted him with the 11th pick. Aside from last season when he played only four games, Trufant has been extremely durable, missing just two games between '03 and '08. He missed six games in '09 but played and started every game in 2010 as well. The Seahawks released Trufant this offseason since they are pursuing Browner and Richard Sherman is set to be the starter on the opposite side.
What he brings to the table: If he is fully healthy, Trufant is really the best option of the three. At 31, he should have more than enough gas left in the tank to start for the Lions and do a solid to great job in coverage against opposing team's second receivers, maybe even the number ones. He has never been much of a playmaker in terms of interceptions, but he has always been a solid tackler and is not prone to mental mistakes. On top of that, he would also bring the added element of being a veteran who has played many games in playoffs and has been to a Super Bowl.
Car comparison: Lexus IS 250