NEWS

The Detroit Lions have made some moves, but where do they go from here?

Posted Feb 6, 2013

In their Wednesday breakfast, Detroitlions.com writers Tim Twentyman and Mike O'Hara discuss the release of Titus Young and Stephen Peterman as well as where the Lions go from here

The Detroit Lions have cut ties with receiver Titus Young. Was it the right move?

Tim: It absolutely was. Young was a malcontent and his production on the field did not match the immense headache he was to coaches and front office personnel.

There are some who think the Lions should have hung onto Young and tried to unload him via trade, but I just don't think there would have been a lot of interest in a trade.

As soon as Young spouted off on Twitter, all of the other 31 teams in the league knew there was no way Young would ever play for the Lions again. That killed any trade value he might have had.

If you're the Lions you also have to worry about him being an embarrassment the longer he's tied to your organization.

Mike: I agree with the conclusion, that Young never should play another down for the Lions, but I still would have tried to wring out anything possible in a trade. I'd have taken it right to the last round of the draft on April 27. After that, if no team made an offer, I'd have cut Young.

And I also believe that the embarrassment Young caused the franchise with his bitter tweet-a-thon during Senior Bowl week played a role in dumping him at the first possible moment.

Owners don't like to be embarrassed, and they shouldn't have to stand for it from a troublemaker.

You don't think Young will be the last player the Lions part ways with this offseason, do you?

Tim: It will not. The next moves will be football related, though, not character related.

You and I both know the Lions are looking for ways to alleviate some of the salary cap their currently feeling.

One expected move this offseason will be the restructure of extension of quarterback Matthew Stafford, but there will be more.

Kyle Vanden BoschThe dominoes began to fall Tuesday with the anouncement that defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and right guard Stephen Peterman has been released, which saves the Lions over $8 million toward the cap next season.

We'll have to wait and see about Dominic Raiola and his $6.1 million cap number for 2013. Detroit Lions GM Martin Mayhew said after the season that Stafford faced too much pressure from the interior of the offense line. Peterman has already been let go because of that fact.

Is there anyone else I'm missing?

Mike: You've hit the high notes, for sure. There shouldn't be any rush to decide whether Jeff Backus returns. He's still dependable at left tackle, but his contract for 2013 likely would need to be renegotiated.

Free agent signings begin in five weeks, and at least as many important decisions have to be made on who to re-sign as who to release. The defense is a prime example of how difficult this process will be.

As it stands today, only three returning full-time starters are under contract – Nick Fairley, Ndamukong Suh and Stephen Tulloch. You can't re-sign all the rest, but you can't let all of them go, either.

Where do you see the balance point between talent and finances?

Tim: It's a fine line, certainly, but that line has to be drawn in the sand when it comes to what value the team places on a player and what said player thinks his value is.

When you're talking about replacing that many starters, you can't overpay. Doing so will inevitably lead to holes at other areas.

First, Martin Mayhew and Co. need to decide which of their younger players are ready to step in and contribute. That makes some of the veterans in those positions expendable.

Then they need to pick the key free agents that they have to keep (in my opinion that's CB Chris Houston and S Louis Delmas) and find a way to pay them.

Tough decisions have to be made but at some point you have to pay your stars and play your young players. I truly believe that's the key to winning.

Am I off my rocker?

Mike: Off your rocker? I'll take that as a cry for help and assume you've accidentally hit on something.

Teams win with stars, blue-chip players – or “Show Dogs” as Mike Ditka has referred to star players. They dominate, win games and put people in the seats. You can't win over the long haul without stars, whatever the price.

The key is to give them support. For example, Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson need a runner to take some of the pressure off, along with a reliable second receiver and tight end. The defense needs defensive backs who can cover long enough to give the pass rushers fractions of seconds to get to the quarterback.

A lot of that support has to come from young players, because their contracts aren't as high as they develop from rookies to free agents in four years. They balance out the roster and the payroll at the same time.

All of this makes this offseason of free agency and the draft vital for the 2013 Lions.

Tim: I think the draft more so, Mike. They need to find a playmaker (or two) on defense and at the very least two other quality starters to help with the cap situation we talk about above.

The best draft Martin Mayhew has had since becoming the GM was his first in 2009, when he snagged starters Matthew Stafford, Brandon Pettigrew, Louis Delmas and DeAndre Levy. They also picked up a quality backup in Sammie Hill, who could start on a number of teams in this league.

The Lions need a similar effort from Mayhew and Co. this time around. It's imperative they find themselves some inexpensive playmakers to compliment their stars.

This is the most important draft of Mayhew's career thus far.

Mike: Can't disagree with what you're saying, but I'll add one thing Bill Belichick said a few years ago. It doesn't matter where you get players – the draft, signing free agents or re-signing your own players. All that counts is that you get them.

That said, go get them – from anywhere.

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