Friday, April 24, 2009

Stafford-Lions Deal Could Go to Last Minute

Look for the Matthew Stafford-Lions negotiations to go to a very late point. The deadline isn’t essentially until 4 p.m. Saturday - when the draft begins. It could go to the last minute.
Until then, all the leverage on both sides rests with that deadline.
For the Lions, it’s knowing they must get a deal done in order to draft Stafford. If they don’t, it could lead to a prolonged negotiation dragging into training camp. For a quarterback, that is a disaster. It greatly hindered Jamarcus Russell with the Raiders a few years back, and may have ruined the career of the Lions’ Andre Ware back in the day.
For Stafford and his agents, Tom Condon and Ben Dogra, it is the understanding that Stafford’s best opportunity to make the most money is as the No. 1 overall pick. Not only will he be slotted at a lesser salary as he falls down the board, but will be risk dropping several spots if he does not sign with the Lions. That would be particularly true if Seattle is as enamored with USC QB Mark Sanchez, as several reports indicate.
Lions president Tom Lewand has good success negotiating contracts. It’s a strength and he is respected among NFL agents. Tom Condon and Ben Dogra, Stafford’s agents, are considered tough, but fair negotiators. It is difficult, considering the circumstances, that either side would cut off their nose to spite their face.
What will likely transpire is a little bit of last-minute movement on both sides and a deal getting done.

Random Thoughts

- I’m not surprised LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson is moving up draft boards. He not only is a good pass rusher, but an excellent run defender. If the Lions were to pass on Stafford, I believe he would be a better choice for them than Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry.

- I knew Adam Everrett wasn’t going to be much of a hitter, but did expect more from him defensively. For somebody who is supposed to be among the best defensive shortstops in baseball, he hasn’t played like it. Where is that great range? Don’t see it. As for his arm, not sure if it is fully-recovered. That was a scary throw he made Thursday night in Anaheim. Almost got Miguel Cabrera clocked.

- The Wings would be better off facing Vancouver than Anaheim in the second round. The reason: Confidence. The Ducks know they can beat the Red Wings in the playoffs, having done so twice since 2003. Chris Pronger has been the main force behind the last two teams to eliminate the Red Wings from the playoffs - Edmonton in 2006 and Anaheim in 2007.



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