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Valenti: Lions' Free Agency Plan 'Arrogant'

Mike Valenti does not view Carlton Davis as a high-level corner.
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Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes has opened up the offseason by continuing to add to the team's roster in a shrewd and financially-conscious manner.

Through the first day-and-a-half of the NFL's legal tampering period, Holmes has re-signed veteran offensive lineman Graham Glasgow, and has inked a pair of middle-tier free agents to contracts (EDGE Marcus Davenport and cornerback Amik Robertson). He also facilitated a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for cornerback Carlton Davis III on Monday.

Meanwhile, Holmes has passed on the opportunity to sign multiple top-tier free agents – and at major areas of need for Detroit (i.e. EDGE Danielle Hunter and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins).

It has hardly been an awe-inspiring start to the offseason for Holmes, causing a variety of fans and pundits alike to question the Detroit front-office head honcho's free-agent strategy.

On Tuesday, 97.1 The Ticket on-air personality Mike Valenti took it a step further, and criticized Holmes for failing to make a difference-making move thus far this offseason. Notably, Valenti took offense to those who view Davis as an “impact corner.”

“Understand something, as we start today, this is not me and Rico (Beard) treating this topic or player like a toilet, we’re not doing that,” Valenti expressed. “Does it help your team to have Carlton Davis? Sure, it does. But, what we don’t need to do, and I’ll only speak for myself here. Rico, you do what you want to do. I do not have to hand out golden (expletive) awards at every move Brad Holmes makes. Because I told you going into this offseason where my mindset was .. I believe in you guys, I believe you’re a Super Bowl team. And, as much good work as Brad Holmes has done, the hardest job – and it’s the one (San Francisco 49ers general manager) John Lynch hasn’t been able to complete yet, who’s a great GM, is winning a Super Bowl.

“I needed impact players. I think it is dishonest to treat Carlton Davis like an impact corner. And pardon me if right as the show started, they signed another nobody from the Raiders (Amik Robertson). They’re telling you they’re not making an impact move there.”

Valenti further lamented that Davis is much closer to being Cam Sutton than Kansas City Chiefs shutdown cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. Davis and Sutton posted eerily similar Pro Football Focus overall grades and passer ratings against in 2023. Davis recorded a 58.2 PFF overall mark and a 107.4 passer rating allowed, while Sutton amassed a 56.0 overall grade and a 113.9 passer rating against.

“He’s better than Cam Sutton. I’m making a point that if it’s the Spirit of Detroit or a Scales of Justice here, they’re closer to equal than you’re comfortable admitting,” the popular sports talk show host continued about Davis. “Is he better than Sutton? Yes. I’ll say it for the people in the back. But, he’s a lot more like Sutton, which is CB1-lite. And, he’s declining, and he’s oft-injured. And now, you’re going to pay him, because there’s no way you traded a third-round pick (No. 92 overall) for a one-year rental. That wouldn’t make any sense.”

There’s no denying the fact that Holmes has done a commendable job in building the Lions into Super Bowl contenders. He’s made several highly satisfactory moves in his time in Detroit, including acquiring a pair of All-Pro talents through the NFL Draft (offensive tackle Penei Sewell and Amon-Ra St. Brown). Yet, it doesn’t make Holmes immune from criticism moving forward, a point that Valenti made Tuesday.

“Let me tell you what I think part of this is, and I’m not trying to be insulting or provocative. I’m shooting you straight. It feels very arrogant,” Valenti said. “It feels very, ‘Hey, look at what we did for you. You can’t question us. We’re going to get misfit toys, and it’s all going to work out.’”

Free agency officially kicks off for the Lions and the rest of the NFL’s 32 franchises Wednesday at 4 p.m. EST.