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Sunday, December 30, 2012

10 Under the Radar Free Agent Targets for Detroit Lions in 2013

UPDATED: 15 Free Agents the Lions should pursue in 2013

The Lions entered Sunday versus the Chicago Bears with a chance to end 2012 on a high note. They couldn't pull it off ending the season at 4-12, with the 5th overall pick and 30 Detroit Lions set to hit free agency, 14 on each side of the ball. Martin Mayhew now has plenty of decisions to make heading into the off-season.

Will Martin Mayhew keep his job
past Black Monday?
1. Johnny Knox, WR, Chicago Bears- A former 5th round draft pick from Albilene Christian, Knox missed the entire 2012 season after having spinal surgery. Accumulating 133 receptions, 2214 yards and 12 touchdowns in his first three seasons, Knox has the combination of route running and speed (4.34 40 yard-dash) to be successful in the slot next to Calvin Johnson. Coming off a season ending injury, he won't command a big contract and will be the perfect low-risk high reward acquisition.

2. Kyle Arrington, CB, New England Patriots- When the Patriots acquired Aqib Talib from the Buccaneers before the week 9 deadline, Arrington was demoted to the nickel corner. Arrington, 26 years old, has 55 tackles and 1 FF on the season, would be a solid pick-up for a depleted Lions secondary.

3. Kenny Phillips, S, New York Giants- Stevie Brown has subsequently taken over for Phillips at safety for the Giants, the two seem destined to part-ways. Phillips, a year removed from a four pick season and helping the Giants win the Super Bowl, at 26 years old looks like a great fit to put along side Louis Delmas in the Lions defensive backfield.

4. Andy Levitre, OG, Buffalo Bills- He may be under the radar because of the position he plays, but this OG has been a staple on the Bills offensive line the past 4 seasons. He would be a solid upgrade over Stephen Peterman, who has been the weak link on the line for sometime now. He would bring an upgrade in both the pass and the run as the Lions look to overhaul the entire line this off-season.

5. Kyle Moore, DE, Buffalo Bills- A former fourth round pick from USC, Moore has played well in a backup role for the Bills (24 TKL, 3 Sacks). Moore could add depth if Cliff Avril, Lawrence Jackson or Willie Young bolt in Free Agency.

6. Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys- After a disappointing 2012, in which he racked up only 378 yards on 106 ATT, the Dallas Cowboys could cut ties after the season's over. A reliable receiver out of the backfield, 25 Rec 265 Yds and 2 TD, Jones could be a solid option next to Matthew Stafford on third-downs.

7. Rashean Mathis, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars- Coming off an ACL injury in 2011, Mathis role has been limited a bit this year. With 20 Tkl on the season, he could be a solid veteran presence in a young, inexperienced Lions secondary.

Will Greg Jennings be a Lion in 2013?

8. Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers- While Jennings may not be completely under the radar, he is coming off an injury plagued 2012, and could come at a discounted price. Jennings, a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan and played college ball at Western Michigan, could be a great compliment to Calvin Johnson. He still has the talent, and at the right price, could be the that complimentary piece to Johnson the Lions have searched for and never found.

9. Chris Hope, S, Atlanta Falcons- At age 32, Hope is well past his days as a starting safety, but finding a smaller role and contributing valuable leadership, the Lions would be smart to add him.

10. Daryl Smith, OLB, Jacksonville Jaguars- Hampered by a groin injury that held him to 2 games, Smith has had a solid NFL career. in 2011, Smith posted 107 Tkl for the Jaguars. At 30, Smith could be a good pickup if Justin Durant or DeAndre Levy leave for Free Agency.

Who should the Lions make a play for?


  1. Phillips would be the best signing out of all these.
    I would love to see them grab Jennings and let Burleson walk; for all his leadership he can't get separation.
    Levitre would be a bad fit IMO as he is more of a finesse blocker and we really need a RG that can upgrade our running game as our pass blocking is fine.

  2. If you look at Levitre's film, he was the lead blocker for Spiller and Jackson. He anchored a line that nearly had back to back thousand yard rushers.
    Burleson said he will take a pay cut to stay in town so well see how much he'll take. If they can acquire Jennings, let Titus Young walk, and restructure Burleson's deal they would have a formidable receiving core.
    Phillips very well could be the steal of Free Agency. Played very well in the Giants run to the Super Bowl.

    1. Great points Bradley. LOVE to see them grab Phillips.

  3. I see numerous mock drafts and an over emphasis on Defense. Are we forgetting that we need to put our quarterback in a better position with more options than Megatron? Living in Minnesota now, I only got to watch one Detroit game live this year, and their offense needs help in both receiving and run game. Watching them live gave a completely different perspective. Get rid of Avril for sure, as he isn't worth the hassle and stress of arguing a contract for a player that is making more money than he is worth. Use the money to get an RB that can dance on the field, and another receiver that is nimble like Calvin. Watching the other receivers live was like watching a blooper reel in slow motion. Bad hands, slow, and overall just not worth their paychecks.
    Bottom line is that I am a die hard Lions fan, having grown up in Detroit. My feelings are simple:
    1. Players need to bleed blue or play somewhere else.
    2. We're paying them for performance. Would they play harder if their contracts were performance based from week to week?
    3. Same goes for the coaching. Their coaching is as bland as my mother's chicken soup. If Jim Schwartz can't display the swagger and authority of a Harbaugh, fire him and hire a Harbaugh.
    Detroit needs to stop being a scrimmage team. Enough said.

    1. Checkout my last article. I agree with the offense assumption somewhat but not completely. If Stafford is the Elite QB the Lions say they are shouldn't he make a few of these receivers better? Look at Denver. Thomas and Decker were average with Tebow, now they're studs. Its been that way for Manning, Brady, Brees and Rodgers their entire careers. Now look at the RB's for the Packers the past couple seasons or Joique Bell. All were late round or undrafted. We have spent significantly on RB's and Receivers and it hasn't worked. It's now time to focus on the Defense and are interior Offensive Line.

    2. Definately like to focus more on OL. An edge rusher at #1 seems apparent and the draft is falling that way. But do you take Joeckel if he's available at #5?

    3. He has an injury to his foot, still not sure if it is severe or not. If he's 100% he won't be around at #5.

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