Offseason Overview: Can the Lions Roar in the NFC North?

Williams remains a Lion for now

Franchise Player: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

• S Idrees Bashir could be back because the Lions need depth in the secondary.

• OT Barry Stokes was signed late in the season when the Lions had problems on the offensive line. He was cut earlier, though, and probably won’t be back.

• WR Troy Walters was a solid fifth receiver and return man, but he won’t be re-signed.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS

• WR Devale Ellis spent 2007 on the physically unable to perform list with a knee injury.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

• CB Leigh Bodden (trade Browns).

• DT Chuck Darby: UFA Seahawks; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

• TE Michael Gaines: UFA Bills; $10M/4 yrs, $3M guaranteed.

• LB Gilbert Gardner: UFA Titans; 1 yr, terms unknown.

• OG Corey Hulsey: FA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

• CB Brian Kelly: UFA Buccaneers; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

• S Kalvin Pearson: RFA Buccaneers; $3.5M/3 yrs, $1.1M SB (Buccaneers elected not to match and receive no compensation).

• RB Artose Pinner: FA; terms unknown.

• S Dwight Smith: FA Vikings; $5M/2 yrs, $350,000 SB/$300,000 reporting bonus; 2008 cap: $1.825M.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

• RB Tatum Bell: UFA; $1.6M/1 yr, SB unknown.

• DB Greg Blue: ERFA; terms unknown.

• RB Aveion Cason: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

• CB Travis Fisher: UFA; $9M/3 yrs, SB unknown.

• OT George Foster: UFA; $1.1M/1 yr, SB unknown.

• DB LaMarcus Hicks: Not tendered as ERFA; terms unknown.

• TE Sean McHugh: ERFA; terms unknown.

• DL Langston Moore: RFA; $927,000/1 yr.

• DE Corey Smith: UFA; terms unknown.

• CB Keith Smith: Potential UFA; $5M/2 yrs, SB unknown.

• QB Dan Orlovsky: RFA; tendered at $927,000; terms unknown.

• TE John Owens: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

• G Stephen Peterman: RFA; tendered at $927,000; terms unknown.

• CB Stanley Wilson: RFA; tendered at $927,000; terms unknown.

PLAYERS LOST

• LB Boss Bailey: UFA Broncos; $17.5M/5 yrs, $4.35M SB.

• CB Fernando Bryant (released).

• RB T.J. Duckett: UFA Seahawks; $17M/5 yrs, $5M guaranteed.

• DE Kalimba Edwards (released; post-June 1 designation).

• RB Kevin Jones (released/failed physical).

• S Kenoy Kennedy (released).

• LB Teddy Lehman: UFA Buccaneers; terms unknown.

• QB J.T. O’Sullivan: UFA 49ers; $645,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB.

• DT Shaun Rogers (traded Browns).

• C/G Blaine Saipaia (released).

• T/G Damien Woody: UFA Jets; $25.5M/5 yrs, $8.75M guaranteed.
 
Last season the Lions looked as if they were finally ready to roar in the NFC North, starting the season 6-2 and looking as good as any team in the division. Then, as fast as their start was, the bottom dropped out, and they won just one game the rest of the season to finish 7-9. Issues remain with the defense, lack of a running game, and protecting whoever plays QB. The team did an overhaul in the offseason, as 11 players either were released, traded, or left via free agency. They acquired nine players, and resigned 14.

The big move was the commitment to the O-line, as the team drafted Boston College tackle Gosder Cherilus with their first pick, 17th overall. They also took running back Kevin Smith from UCF in round three, and he very well may have an impact on the running game. Also expect to see 2nd-year QB Drew Stanton give Jon Kitna some competition at the QB spot this season, as you could very well see a changing of the guard there. The Lions have more than enough talent to be a .500 team, now it’s up to them to finally reach that goal and strive farther.

Offseason grade to Date: C


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