Just how real is the possibility of Jason Hanson not being the Detroit Lions' kicker next season? The team is set to bring in free-agent kicker David Akers for a visit next week, according to the Free Press' Dave Birkett.
Just last week, negotiations between the Lions and Hanson went public with the two sides making some interesting comments to the media. Hanson's side made it known that he hasn't been presented with an offer from the Lions that meets what they are looking for from a salary standpoint, and the Lions made it known that "sentiment" can't be a consideration in the salary cap era. In other words, the Lions won't hesitate to move on if a deal can't be worked out.
To me, bringing in Akers seems like a negotiating ploy. The Lions very well may have legitimate interest in Akers, but this news should serve as a message to Hanson that he either needs to take the Lions' deal or risk them moving on. I'm sure the Lions would rather have Hanson back than sign Akers, but they can't wait around forever if negotiations aren't progressing at all.
Perhaps the main reason I'm hoping this is nothing more than a negotiating ploy is because Akers did not have a good 2012 season. He did start the season off with a 63-yard field goal against the Green Bay Packers, but he ended up finishing 2012 with some rough numbers. Akers went 29-of-42 on field goals, and he nearly was released by the San Francisco 49ers during their playoff run. The 49ers did release him earlier this month, making him a free agent.
While it's true that Akers dealt with injuries throughout last season, I wouldn't be very happy with him replacing Hanson. To be fair, I really wouldn't be happy with Hanson being replaced at all considering he isn't planning to retire this year. But if this situation does result in Hanson not being re-signed, I'd rather the Lions go younger or at the very least sign someone who didn't miss 13 field goals last season. I hope it doesn't come to that, though.