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Just Say No Volume 3.0: Another 5 free agents the Lions should avoid

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The list about guys the Lions shouldn’t sign gets its Return of the Jedi

Green Bay Packers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

It’s that of the year again when Just Say No becomes a trilogy. And just like “Return of the Jedi,” “Godfather: Part III” and “Halloween: Season of the Witch,” this one probably isn’t going to be as good or as exciting as the first two.

But nevertheless, here we are. At this point, free agency is just 10 days away, but the fun of free agency really begins a week from today when the legal tampering period begins. That’s when players and agents can start talking and this is when the rumors (or, in most cases, the truth that a team and a player has agreed to a deal they were not legally able to agree to) start flying around.

With this week being the final calm before the storm, you can pretty much guarantee that there will be some more cuts happening. So what I’m saying is that I’ve got one or two more Just Say articles coming for you this week. For now, let’s get into today’s batch. Guess what, there are more running backs.

Doug Martin

I’m a little late on this one. Martin got cut a couple weeks back, and he didn’t immediately make my list. By that I mean I have an actual list that I keep at home and Martin was too far down the list to include, and I’ve wasted too much time talking about my list. Why should the Lions avoid the Muscle Hamster?

First off, that nickname is terrible. Second of all, this hamster’s wheel has been broken for a long time. Martin burst onto the scene his rookie year in 2012 and made his first Pro Bowl. He grabbed 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns and was truly fun to watch.

He then tore his labrum and missed 10 games in the 2013 season. He then missed five games in 2014, had a Pro Bowl year in 2015, then he got suspended for substance abuse in 2016 and finally started just six games in 2017. Oh, and he missed five games in 2017, too.

Martin’s injuries have taken a toll on him and while he did have a bounce back year in 2015 and a mega rookie year in 2012, he’s only accounted for 1,777 yards and nine touchdowns in the other four years of his career combined. You see the problem here.

Plus my family had a hamster in 1989, and that hamster died when it chewed up the corner of my big sister’s social studies book. I’m just not emotionally ready to have another hamster running around right now.

Pernell McPhee

If it were not for the Bears, these lists would be full of running backs every week. But thanks to the team I hate so much, we now have two former Bears to add to this list. The first is Pernell McPhee.

The Lions are desperately in need of a pass rush. They really need some talent on that defensive line, and at one point, McPhee was a huge signing for the Bears. I don’t mean that in the way that Bears fans act about every signing the team makes. I mean he was a big get for them.

Coming off a hot year in Baltimore with a Super Bowl ring intact, McPhee was set to tear it up in the NFC North, and he actually did in 2015. He had 42 tackles and six starts. McPhee looked like he could be the new defensive monster in the division for some time.

But Pernell never lived up to that. In 2016, McPhee missed seven games and didn’t start a single game the entire season. In 2017, he missed three more games and only started five. Then the Bears cut him before the last year of his contract.

That’s quite a fall. The Lions should not be the team that tries to pick him back up.

Chris Ivory

Hey, another running back! And hey, it’s a similar story to the past eight that I listed: A great season in the past that’s surrounded by injury-riddled seasons that eventually led to being cut.

Chris Ivory had a great three seasons with the New York Jets from 2013 to 2015. But since leaving New York, Ivory has gone down quite a bit. In 2015, Ivory ran for 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns. Since then, he’s ran for 821 and four touchdowns in the last two years combined... and he’s 30.

Willie Young

I mentioned that there were two former Bears on today’s list, but what I left out was that one of them is a former Lion too. There was a time that I wished the Lions had never let Willie Young get away. They really could have used him.

Now I’m hoping the Lions don’t bring Young back. And here’s the thing, I know they won’t. The point is moot here, but here’s the reason that the Lions should stay away. He’s old. That’s really the story here.

When the 2018 starts, Willie Young will be 33 years old and coming off a 2017 season where he only played four games and sat out the rest of the season with torn triceps. On top of that, Young’s play has been declining for some time now. I wouldn’t be surprised if Willie called it a career.

Josh Gordon

Seriously, you guys. I can’t even believe that this is a thing in 2018. Gordon had a masterful 2013 season. I mean, this dude looked unstoppable. 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns. He was the next big thing.

Four seasons later, Gordon has racked up 42 receptions for 638 yards and one touchdown. He’s also racked up a bunch of suspensions for smoking weed—which, by the way, I fully support. All NFL players should be allowed smoke weed. It’s a hell of a lot better than popping dangerously addictive opioids and getting cortisone shots.

Gordon also sold a bunch of cars too. Don’t let me forget that.

I realize that Gordon is still super young—he’s only 26 years old—but the guy has played 10 games of football in four years. The madness around him has to stop. Josh will more than likely never again become what he was five years ago. And the Lions really don’t need him.

Besides, Gordon is an exclusive rights free agent, which means all the Browns need to do is tender him an offer, and Gordon won’t be able to negotiate or play with another team in 2018. Head coach Hue Jackson already said the Browns will tender him that offer, so can we please stop with the Josh Gordon nonsense?