Why haven't we heard any free agency news?

Posted Mar 9, 2013

After a full day of the new free agent-negotiating period, lead writer Tim Twentyman answers Saturday's most common fan questions surrounding the Lions and free agency.

Q. Why haven't we heard any news?

A. When the NFL sent out a memo Friday night reminding teams that they are not allowed to agree to terms with any agents on potential contracts or they would be subject to a tampering investigation, it took the luster out of this three-day negotiating period.

In the memo, the league included media reports as a potential cause for an investigation. That means teams aren't going to be loose-lipped with information regarding other teams' free agents.

The reports that are out there now are mostly from agents with agendas or players themselves.

Q. Reports are out there that the Arizona Cardinals are pursuing Reggie Bush hard. With the current salary cap situation, can the Lions even be players?

A. Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand has said more than once that getting an extension to Matthew Stafford is not essential for them to be players in free agency. There are plenty of moves the Lions can still make in terms of restructures and outright cuts – which isn't out of the realm of possibility – to accomplish what they want to accomplish in free agency.

Think of it this way: would the Lions enter into negotiations with player agents if there wasn't a way to sign them? That's not good business. The cap may read around $6.5 million right now, but that's always fluid to a motivated buyer.

If the Lions want a player like Bush - which it seems they do - and the price is right, they'll find a way to get it done.

Sammie HillQ. Will Sammie Hill be re-signed? Don't the Lions need to keep depth along the defensive line?

A. They do, but if I'm Sammie Hill, I'm open to any sales pitch that allows me a starting position.

The simple fact is that the Lions have a lot of resources tied into Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, and Hill is never going to surpass those two on the depth chart, no matter how much he progresses. The Lions really like Hill's skillset, and value him in that rotation. They've developed him from Stillman College and think he has real potential.

However, it seems Hill is getting some interest from other teams and the Lions aren't in a position to match a multimillion per-year offer for Hill as a backup. That's just a simple reality.

Q. Are any players at risk of becoming a cap casualty prior to Tuesday?

A. There's potential there.

I hate to speculate on specific players, but if push comes to shove, there seems to be some contracts that could give the Lions a little more wiggle room. Jeff Backus and Tony Scheffler could save the Lions a few million, but that's pure speculation on my part at this point and there's no indication that has even been considered.

Q. Is there truth to the Lions taking a look at LeGarrette Blount?

A. I don't see how that makes any real sense for the Lions. General manager Martin Mayhew said he's looking for a player with some "juice" at the position. Blount and “juice” don't fit in the same sentence. He's a bruiser, but certainly not a big-play threat the Lions are looking for.

The Lions tied for the league-low with four rushing plays of 20-plus yards in 2012. They're looking for a back with big-play potential, not a bruiser.

I don't see how Blount fits at all, unless they've completely given up on Mikel Leshoure or Joique Bell, which isn't the case.

That move would make little to no sense, in my opinion.

Q. Will any of the Lions' other top defensive free agents - Cliff Avril, Louis Delmas, Justin Durant, Chris Houston or Lawrence Jackson - be re-signed by Tuesday?

A. It doesn't appear that anything is imminent on that front. Houston is definitely a priority, but his deal is somewhat complicated seeing that he's considered among a group of five or six cornerbacks at the top of the market. That market hasn't been set with a big-time signing yet.

I've been saying this since the end of the season - and I don't think anything has changed – I see Avril playing in another uniform in 2013.

I thought it was telling that DeAndre Levy was signed before Durant. Is Durant's asking price too high? The Lions also have options with Ashlee Palmer and second-year players Tahir Whitehead and Travis Lewis waiting in the wings.

The Lions like Palmer, or they wouldn't have signed him to a two-year, $3.25 million deal. That's not normal backup money.

Jackson makes sense, he's inexpensive with potential. If I'm the Lions I find a way to make that happen.