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Just Say No: 5 free agents the Detroit Lions need to avoid

We all love to build our own dream team in the offseason, but here are five names the Lions should avoid.

NFL: New York Giants at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency is a weird time of the year. Every March the NFL allows teams to sign free agents and welcome new players to their franchise in the hopes of winning a championship or building a team that can someday compete for said championship.

In Detroit, it is unequivocally a time for dreams that will never come true, and in some cases, really shouldn’t come true. That’s why three years ago I started the “Just Say No” series to help protect us all from dreaming too hard or protect us from dreaming the wrong dreams altogether.

Here’s how it works: I noticed three years ago that we Lions fans have a bad habit of seeing a free agent and saying “we should sign that guy.” What I’ll be doing is crushing those dreams. Much like D.A.R.E. in the 90’s, we should all Just Say No to these guys. Without further adieu, here’s part one.

Sam Shields

Nailed it, my friend. This type of thing will be a constant of the Just Say No series. While the Lions will be in need of corner help this summer, Sam Shields is not the way to go. Why? Because shields has played one game since Week 12 of the 2015 season. To elaborate further on that, Shields has never played a full season in his seven-year career.

Pushing 30 and dealing with concussion issues that saw him get sent to the IR in 2016, is all you need to see when making this decision.

Brandon Carr

Maybe I’m alone in this boat. To me, there is no corner in the league that gets paid as much as he did to play as bad as he did. Carr certainly was deserving of a hefty payday in his early days with Dallas. Now all I have is the image of Calvin Johnson ripping his soul out of his chest in route to 329 yards.

I will say this, of all on this list, Carr has the best chance of landing in Detroit. Being that he is from the area and some players like to end their careers at home. The Lions should not look at this as a another Rashean Mathis experiment. Take a pass. Carr is probably going to retire anyways.

Julius Peppers

Back to Green Bay again. I can see why Peppers could be seen as an option. He’s a future Hall of Famer who has been to the Pro bowl multiple times and even won Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. But the key word here is 2004. I was still in high school when that happened. I’m now a 31-year-old balding (handsome) man.

Julius Peppers is 37 years old. He really should be thinking about retiring. With that in mind, the Lions plan here should be to get younger. Peppers is old enough to be my father. Well, not realistically, but metaphorically. Is it metaphorically? I digress.

Peppers has begun to lose that step. It happens with age. After not missing a start since 2009, Peppers only started eleven games for the Packers in 2016. It’s time to get younger.

Alshon Jeffery

This one is tempting. There are two things in this world that I am certain of. One is that cereal is the greatest food ever created. The other is that Alshon Jeffery will be on the first thing smoking out of Chicago, but I say he keeps on moving past Detroit.

It wasn’t long ago that Calvin Johnson was retiring and everyone looked at Alshon Jeffery as if he were the only replacement the Lions could possibly get if they hoped to ever win a game again. Fast forward a year, and the Lions are a playoff team without an elite wide receiver. Do they even need Alshon Jeffery?

The next big part of this is a simple question: Is Alshon even that good? If you go back in time to 2013, you’ll see that Alshon had a big year. He racked up 1,421 yards and went to the Pro Bowl. He’s since been coasting off that one season.

This is what happens in the NFL. Player A has a really good season or even a really good game. team A pays them big money based on that alone. In the past two years, this is what Alshon has done.

Alshon Jeffery stats 2015-2016

Receptions Yards Touchdowns
Receptions Yards Touchdowns
106 1,628 6

Please don’t forget that Jefferey spent part of his 2015 season out with a hamstring injury that eventually put him on the IR. Also don’t forget that Alshon missed part of the 2016 season because he was suspended for violating the NFL’s PED policy. Now I ask you, do you think the Lions should be Team A?

Victor Cruz

Another constant in the Just Say No series is the once great player whosr career was marred by injury. In case you missed it, the Giants released Victor Cruz on Monday afternoon.

Within seconds, this happened.

I get it. When you think of Victor Cruz, you think of 2011 and 2012 Victor Cruz. He was a bad man that looked like he would be one of the best receivers in the league for years to come. It’s really easy to forget 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Victor Cruz who accumulated just 135 receptions for 1,921 yards and six touchdowns all in the span of 35 games over four years.

I like Victor Cruz. If the Lions gave him a shot at camp, I wouldn't even be upset about it, but it’s important to know that Cruz’s days of being a starting receiver are long past due. Unfortunately, in 2014 Cruz suffered a devastating injury that is particularly hard to come back from: a torn patella in his knee. At 30, he made an amazing effort, but Detroit may not be the place for him to continue his career.

What are your thoughts Lions fans? Be sure to leave your comments below. Until then, if somebody tries to offer you these free agents, show them this.