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Lions 2014 Free Agent Frenzy

Wide receiver Golden Tate brings his Packer-defeating pedigree to Detroit as the headliner of their 2014 free agency class.

Wide receiver Golden Tate brings his Packer-defeating pedigree to Detroit as the headliner of their 2014 free agency class.

The Detroit Lions have avoided cap hell for another season. Detroit has been active early in the 2014 free agency season. Detroit has re-signed two of their own players long term and added much needed help at WR to complement Calvin Johnson. Let’s take a look at the structure of the signings and past production from the Lions new signings.

Wide Receiver Golden Tate is now a Lion. Tate spurned offers from the Seahawks, Jets and Jaguars and signed a 5 year $31 million dollar deal with $13.2 million guaranteed. Eight million of the guaranteed money is a signing bonus ($1.6 million cap hit per season). Tate’s base salary for 2014 and 2015 is guaranteed.  Tate has cap hits of $3.1 million, $5.35 million, $6.35 million, $7.6 million and $8.6 million over the five years of the deal. This is a solid market value deal for Detroit getting a much needed strong number 2 WR.

Golden Tate was productive for the Super Bowl winning Seattle Seahawks. Tate has grown every year in production for Seattle and culminated in 2013 with 64 receptions on 98 targets (68%) for 898 yards and 5 touchdowns. Tate’s drop rate has been the lowest in the league since 2011 meaning the Lions got a WR with great hands. Tate is very shifty as well, leading the league with 21 missed tackles forced and his 7.9 YAC per reception leads the league. Tate can take a short pass underneath and do damage. This will be huge for the Lions’ offense with the focus on Calvin Johnson. Tate should get similar targets as now 4th WR Kris Durham, who had 84 targets for Detroit in 2013. Tate is a strong receiver earning a +11.2 receiving grade but his -1.9 blocking grade needs work. Tate will be an asset for Detroit and is an upgrade over Nate Burleson with a better health record.

Tight End Brandon Pettigrew flirted with the Jets but decided to stay in Detroit on a 4 year $16 million deal with $8 million guaranteed. Pettigrew received a $4 million signing bonus and his 2014 and 2015 base salaries are guaranteed. It’s basically a two year deal with two team options for Detroit starting in 2016. Pettigrew has cap hits of $2.2 million, $3.8 million, $4.65 million and $5.35 million over the 4 year deal. Pettigrew has had an up and down career with Detroit. Pettigrew was very productive in 2010/2011 with over 700 yards receiving (and a good catch %) and good blocking. Pettigrew struggled in 2012 with drops (13%) fumbles (2 lost) and missed the final 4 games of the season. Pettigrew dipped in production in 2013 with only 416 yards and 2 TDs in 14 games but did have a stronger 64% catch rate (41 catches on 64 targets). Pettigrew’s drop rate fell to 8% and he only lost one fumble Week 1 of the 2013 season. Pettigrew’s pass blocking was strong in 2013 but his run blocking uncharacteristically fell to a -8.9 grade after much stronger run blocking years in 2009-2012. Reggie Bush still managed 4.5 YPC and 1,000 yards thanks to his speed and the rest of the offensive line run blocking well.

Pettigrew can be productive and a good blocker for Detroit and at $4 million a year Detroit paid the correct price. But Pettigrew can cause problems with drops and is only an underneath and intermediate threat for the Lions. Having a TE that can do it all is still a positive to disguise the plays for the offense. It is up to Pettigrew and the new coaching staff to get him back to a 700 yard + a year TE with a good catch rate.

Running Back Joique Bell was a restricted free agent but Detroit made the smart move to sign him long term. Bell signed a 3 year deal worth $9.3 million. Bell received a $3 million signing bonus and his $1.3 million base salary of 2014 is guaranteed. Bell has cap hits of $2.3 million in 2014, $3.5 million in 2015 and $3.5 million in 2016. Bell had 650 yards (3.9 YPC) and 8 rushing touchdowns for Detroit in 2013 and 5 YPC in 2012. Bell added 547 receiving yards giving Detroit two dual threat RBs on the roster. This is a great long term signing for Detroit giving them two good running backs in their prime.

Defensive End Daryl Tapp was signed to a veteran minimum deal. Tapp will earn $835,000 but will only count $635,000 against the cap due to the veteran minimum deduction rule. Tapp is a veteran DE that will replace the snaps of Israel Idonije (347 snaps). Tapp has played under defensive line coach Jim Washburn while in Philadelphia and played 200-350 snaps per year while in the 4-3 Eagle defense. Tapp played as a 3-4 OLB in Washington in 2013 but a 4-3 DE is what fits Tapp’s skillset best. Tapp was strong in run defense with a +4.6 grade but only had 1 sack, 2 hits and 3 hurries in 2012. 2011 Tapp had 3 sacks, 6 hits and 13 hurries for a +3.3 pass rush grade and a strong +5.2 run defense grade in 300 snaps. 2010 Tapp played 445 snaps and had 3 sacks, 7 hits and 19 hurries for a +2.7 pass rush grade. Tapp is a veteran DE that can stop the run and generate some pressure. We’ll see how the soon to be 30 year old (September) performs in the 4th DE role compared to 2013 DE Israel Idonije (1 sack, 2 hits, 23 hurries and -.2 run defense grade).

On Tap

The Lions had strong safety James Ihedigbo for a visit and may sign him in the coming weeks to replace Louis Delmas with a move of Glover Quin to free safety. Ihedigbo is a veteran safety with 2 full years of starting experience (one with Patriots in 2011, one with Ravens in 2013). Ihedigbo was the 2nd ranked safety in the league in run defense in 2013 and does not commit many penalties. Ihedigbo is a true strong safety that struggles in coverage at times but is not a liability in coverage.

The Lions continue to look for a backup QB. If Shaun Hill signs with the Rams this week, looks for the Lions to target Luke McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick or a similar veteran to backup Matt Stafford.

The Lions have made some strong free agent moves and have $2.2 remaining in cap space. They may restructure Calvin Johnson or another contract to get more cap space for the rookie class or an Ihedigbo signing. The long term contract for Suh still looms for cap space but is not necessary cap wise. However, it is necessary distraction wise during the season to get done by training camp. The Lions have until training camp to get a deal done with Suh similar to the July deal for Stafford last season. The Lions now can make year two of the potential long term Suh deal the lowest cap hit year by waiting similar to Matt Stafford’s deal. Cap hell has been avoided with a free agent push to fill needs. The Lions still have work to do with the draft and at the safety position and backup QB position.

2318 comments
gatrbuc17
gatrbuc17 moderator

It's a quarter to fucking Eleven. Thanks guys.

Blaming all my drag ass on yall tomorrow.

Peace out

NightStalkerThief
NightStalkerThief

Well i guess i'll go hit the shower then bed. Good night y'all

NightStalkerThief
NightStalkerThief

So i'm already starting to see some improvement on my endurance from Insanity. Love it

gatrbuc17
gatrbuc17 moderator

Natra............what grade do you teach?

natradamus
natradamus

@gatrbuc17  ABE (12th grade night school (Econ and Gov't) Career Prep for manufacturing, GED) and also a class at the alternative school-  15 to super seniors

natradamus
natradamus

@Chocolate Honey O's  most of the high school students are pretty assimilated to american culture, and can communicate with english.  their reading level is usually a little behind though.   there is a department within ABE that teachers their parents though-  and that is beginning English for adults.

I do not teach those  classes-  no training

gatrbuc17
gatrbuc17 moderator

@natradamus @Chocolate Honey O's I was just saying the Hispanic pop in the south move in and dont bother to learn the language and raise their kids who speak Perfect English but the fathers and mothers are too lazy to do so

natradamus
natradamus

@Chocolate Honey O's @natradamus MN.  we have a large muslim population-  that is most of the foreigners around here.  there is some hispanic people too, but they mainly stay in the rural areas and work in jobs related to agriculture (mills, field work, etc.)

natradamus
natradamus

@Chocolate Honey O's @natradamus ???  Im not following you.   This place discriminates against Muslims, which really is unfortunate.   There is yet to be any marriages between locals and muslims to my knowledge,  but there is one that I kinda wanna see without her hi jab (not a student-  just want to make that clear) 

gatrbuc17
gatrbuc17 moderator

@natradamus @Chocolate Honey O's Hey I lived in TX where Hispanics lived there for 20 yrs and raised kids there and still never bothered to learn english. I kinda doubt most of those foreigners were hispanic

gatrbuc17
gatrbuc17 moderator

@natradamus  I dindnt know what a diagraph or a blend was till I was in fifth grade. He's known that for two yrs.

gatrbuc17
gatrbuc17 moderator

@natradamus @gatrbuc17 OH we have like 10 diff computer programs for him . He has Vreader, Innotab. He reads at a 4th grade level. Math is in 4digit subtractions with carry overs. Roman numerals ara snap for him he can diagram sentences for chrissakes. He knows the diff between an adj and adv with ease

natradamus
natradamus

@gatrbuc17 @natradamus "project based" is just having the student pick the topic-  a hobby or something that they want to learn more about, and then you guide them in their research-  trying to move up from the current level of thinking.  a suggestion would be to look at "bloom's taxonomy" as a way to guide the next level of thinking, and then to also keep in mind "Gardner's Multiple Intelligence Theory" as a way to diversify the activities and assessments.

natradamus
natradamus

@gatrbuc17 @natradamus I got ya.  try some project based lessons with him.   the internet is a great tool-  but sometimes it sucks finding content that fits the intelligence level of the students as well as their interests.

gatrbuc17
gatrbuc17 moderator

@natradamus @gatrbuc17 Just asking because my 6 yr old is Super advanced and we are home-schooling him. I wont let my wife work so she can teach him and he is gonna be too much for her in three yrs MAX 

Just trying to feel things out with those that chose to teach

natradamus
natradamus

@gatrbuc17 @natradamus nope.  15 - 45 year olds in GED

15-20 at the high school

currently 17-18 in the night school classes

developing curriculum for manufacturing class, but it will be used fro 20-50 year old students.