I know this is going to be hard to accept, but I really think Detroit should tank 2013 and gear up for a monster 2014 offseason. Before you chastise me or criticize me, hear me out.
There’s no cap space this offseason. Even if Detroit cuts their overpaid guys like KVB and Raiola, the team will still get hit with their roster bonuses against their cap and won’t see much of an upgrade with the money they’d save. Some other guys that aren’t very good, Peterman for example, come off the books after 2013 as well.
Then there are players that are huge question marks, Detroit could use 2013 to further evaluate these guys. Hell, just starting with WRs we have Mike Thomas, Ryan Broyles, Nate Burleson, and Titus Young who are all big Qs coming into 2013. Will Mike Thomas be a good player after a year of camp with the team? Will Broyles and Burleson bounce back after injuries? Will Young remove his head from his ass? Then there’s the whole class of rookie DBs that they drafted, Bentley, Green, and Greenwood. The fact is, the roster is filled with question marks and it wouldn’t be a bad scenario to use 2013 to see who really fits the future of this team.
The fact is, shooting for a winning 2013 will hurt this team long term. There are too many holes, too many question marks, and not enough cap space. If they shoot for winning in 2013, they’ll end up signing a bunch of mediocre players for too much money and they’ll be in the same situation next year, up against the cap with many positions of need. Structuring the team around 2013 as an evaluation year and 2014 as the offseason where they’ll have money for moves to build for the long term is the right move. I want a perennial contender, not a once in a while playoff team.
I think this offseason, they need to work to keep some guys that are worth keeping. Chris Houston immediately comes to mind, a fair 4 or 5 year deal with him needs to happen. SLH is another, he’s a good back up that can be had cheaply. I’m not opposed to Louis Delmas as long as it’s a low guarantee contract with roster bonuses. Certainly any FA over the age of 30 needs to be a 1 year deal or shown the door.