Wednesday I stated that the Lions are busy ranking the top five offseason moves on their official website. The number five move was trading Joey Harrington to the Miami Dolphins after a disappointing stay in Detroit. At number four was the re-signing of seven unrestricted free agents. The number three move was announced today.
Even though there weren't any big signings or high-profile players brought to Motown, the free agents signed was named the number three move of the offseason. This is somewhat of a surprise to me because of the fact that no big-name players were signed. Many veteran free agents were brought to the Lions and will make an impact during the 2006 season.
The first signings of the offseason were both quarterbacks that have been around in the NFL for a fair amount of time. The pair of veteran QB's that I'm talking about is Jon Kitna and Josh McCown. Kitna arrives in Detroit after backing up Carson Palmer last season in Cincinnati. McCown comes from Arizona, a team that had a great duo of targets for Josh to throw to in Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. These two signings signaled the end of the Joey Harrington era in Detroit, one that has been a very painful ride for both players and fans of the Lions. Now, Kitna and McCown will battle it out for the starting spot.
The next two free agents signings were added to the roster in order for Kitna and McCown to have some targets to throw to no matter who's starting. Wide receiver Corey Bradford and tight end Dan Campbell both signed on the dotted line to become the newest members of the team. Bradford is going into his ninth season as a NFL player and is coming off of one of his best seasons. Campbell is going into his eighth NFL season. The last two seasons have been down years for Campbell who isn't known for putting big numbers up on the scoreboard anyways.
The most surprising signing in most minds during the Lions' offseason would come after Detroit picked up linebacker Paris Lenon, running back Arlen Harris, guard Rex Tucker, tackle Barry Strokes, and tackle Courtney VanBuren. Ross Verba was signed even though he's only played in sixteen games in the last three seasons. And on top of that, all of those sixteen games came in the 2004 season.
The Lions needed some defensive help after losing a few key players earlier on in the offseason. To help the matter out signings of safety Idrees Bashir, defensive back Jamar Fletcher, and defensive tackles Cleveland Pinkney, Damien Gregory, and Tyoka Jackson were all completed. Not every player signed in the offseason will make the final cut to get a spot on the roster, but one of the main reasons for bringing these players in was to create a source of motivation and competition. If a player knows he has someone working hard below him on the depth chart, then he may end up working harder to secure a spot on the roster.
The number two move of the offseason will be announced next Friday. And don't blink just yet, the first preseason game is just a month away as of this coming Tuesday.