For 2014, each NFL team was given the ability to spend up to $80,362 on signing bonuses for undrafted free agents. These bonuses are a big part of the recruiting process and could ultimately be the difference between landing one of your top targets and seeing him sign elsewhere.
For the Detroit Lions, it appears that Kansas State offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas was one of their top targets for this year's group of undrafted free agents. I say that because he received a $20,000 signing bonus, according to Aaron Wilson. That's basically a quarter of the Lions' entire pool of UDFA bonuses.
Last year, Joseph Fauria received the biggest bonus of all the Lions' undrafted free agents at $12,500. LaAdrian Waddle, who ended up making the team along with Fauria, received a slightly smaller bonus at $10,000. They were viewed as two of the Lions' top UDFAs last year, so I think it's safe to say Lucas is one of the top signings this year.
So where exactly does Lucas fit into the picture at offensive tackle? Much like Waddle last year, Lucas is joining a team with a spot up for grabs at the position. Waddle quickly became the favorite to fill the final tackle spot last year, and he actually became a starter halfway through the season. For Lucas this year, his only real competition right now for the fourth spot at tackle appears to be J.B. Shugarts, who signed with the Lions last month.
Obviously there's lot of time for the situation at tackle to change, but at the very least, the Lions seem to be quite high on Lucas' potential.