Lions Track Record of Playing Russian Roulette with Free Agents Continues!

Author:
Publish date:

Lions Track Record of Playing Russian Roulette with Free Agents Continues!

Â
I am perplexed with the game of Russian Roulette that the Lions are playing here. The Lions have not hid the fact that they want Duckett back. Marinelli, Colletto and others in the organization have stressed to me with the camera running and not that they not only want him, but also see his resigning as critical.

Â
The Lions have communicated to his agent that they would like him, but as the deadline comes before he gets to unrestricted status (Friday at midnight) they still haven’t even started negotiations with him. Not even an offer or a, “What number will it take TJ,” question. Nothing…Zilch! Now one can only wonder why. I know that they want him. That hasn’t been misrepresented. They have spent too much energy to be disingenuous through all of this. The sad thing is that the Lions have a terrible track record (in my opinion) when it comes to re-signing their guys and the streak continues.

Â
The Lions waiting could cost them a critical player (their own admission) or at best cost them big money that they wouldn’t have to pay had they signed him before the free agency period gets started. What is worse than this? It isn’t the first time!

Â
TJ gave the Lions a hometown discount when he came here last year. You may remember that he signed (a story we broke here at SpartanNation.com) last year and at the time, he had the Seahawks and the Bears begging for a visit with dollar signs already being discussed. The process dragged on until Rod Marinelli was emphatic to management that he wanted to get his guys signed and the deal got done that very evening. Marinelli was less than pleased at the pace last year (and the year before) and it appears that the Lions are moving at that same pace again.

Â
The Lions have a terrible track record (in my opinion) when it comes to losing their guys or overpaying them to stay when it could have saved the organization millions. Want some examples?

Â

  1. The Lions lost Jeff Hartings when he had agreed to a deal with the Lions (verbally) and when they faxed over the actual contract, the numbers were not what was agreed upon. He simply called the Steelers and faxed them what the Lions had agreed upon (not what they sent him in writing) and asked them to match it. The Steelers couldn’t type the deal fast enough and the Lions lost him because their tactics were at the least, questionable. Anyone doubt Hartings could have helped this team while he was helping the Steelers win a Superbowl? Was that a one-time deal? Could it have been a mistake?
  2. The Lions essentially did the same thing with Mike Furrey. On more than one occasion he had agreed to a deal only to have what was faxed to his agent be something else. Again similar to Hartings. The Lions came dangerously close to losing Furrey, like Hartings. Luckily Millen and Marinelli stepped in and got it done correctly. Had the Lions not used the same negotiation tactics with Furrey, I KNOW FOR A FACT that he would have signed for significantly less money than what the Lions ended up paying him. Again they had to overpay for one of their own after doing a terrible job trying to resign him.
  3.  The Cory Redding situation from last season is yet another example. The Lions could have saved millions had a contract got done sooner. In fact when the Lions finally had Martin Mayhew get the deal done, Redding didn’t hide the fact his frustration over the Lions and how the deal was handled. He did stress that it WASN’T with Mayhew. In fact here is the quote from back in July when he finally signed his deal, “Was a little hiccup so, to speak I guess, in the beginning. Then Martin Mayhew took over and when he took over, it was just a smooth transition. From what he did, I’m very pleased as to how everything went and it’s just been great.” As far as the Lions dragging their feet, “I feel good that the conclusion of the contract was great. It’s been a long seven months and with a long negotiation,” is that really how you want, “Your guys,” being taken care of?  The NFL may have several teams, but there is a close fraternity of players and a small handful of successful agents and is this how you want your team perceived by that group?Â
  4. Kalimba Edwards was someone that the Lions deemed critical. They allowed him to go shop and when the Browns made him an outrageous offer, the Lions matched. Had they taken care of business sooner rather then let him shop again they would have saved significant money. For the record I have said from day one that resigning him as a bad move.

Â
I am in no way begrudging any of these good men for making good money. I am begrudging the Lions for not saving the money and taking care of their business. Money saved could have yielded additional players. The Lions badly need players, and need to save all the money they can to accumulate them.Â

Â
The Lions have taken a wait and see approach with their free agents. Something that I certainly don’t blame them for, it is their business, but they are dealing with some guys they want back. They want TJ back, but they are content to wait and see.Â

Â
They raised ticket prices on Wednesday, but didn’t try to resign a guy that wants to be there for less money than it will cost if they wait. How about using the saved money and try to find some free agents to fill some gaps?

Â
So they will let the guys they “want” go scour the market only to do what? Come back with a deal from another team? This time there won’t be a hometown discount if these guys go shopping. This time the Lions will have to step to the pump and either price themselves out of players or have to pay significantly more.Â

Â
TJ has wants to get a deal done. TJ has wanted since the season concluded to get a contract hammered out. They have stayed in contact with him as far as a coaching staff, but have made no offer. Why not try to sign a guy that wants to be with you, and save the money that would have come with a hometown discount.

Â
Now here is the deal. The Lions track record is terrible with their free agents (in my opinion) and they need to fix it. They need to stop it. Hey, if they don’t want TJ then you can’t blame them this is a business. The fact is that they do, and once again they are handling it terribly.

Â
The sad part is that there is only a couple of days left until free agency starts and once again the Lions may have to pay extra money to keep guys that they could have paid less for, or at the worst lose them. Remember that one of the reason’s Barry Sanders walked away from football was how the Lions handled their players. He was frustrated by the Lions management and simply walked away. How sad!

Â
Sure they don’t want to go spend big money on free agents. I don’t blame them, but why spend more than you have to? The money they saved could have been spent on more bodies. More bodies that they certainly need. Well they did raise ticket prices, maybe they need it to overpay for their own guys.