Calvin Johnson signing was a given, but put Lions behind seeking cornerbacks
Contract negotiations are always a little prolonged, aren't they? Ideally, Calvin Johnson would have signed a long-term deal with the Lions before free agency started. Maybe they would have had a shot at Cortland Finnegan before he left the board, or re-signing Eric Wright, now that their salary cap is lower for the coming season.
But this free agency signing season does prove how valuable and difficult it is to obtain and retain cornerbacks.
Finnegan is a good player. It's difficult to tell at this point what portion of his contract is guaranteed money (it's not all $50 million). But he is undersized and just solid at this stage. He had three interceptions the last two years, just one last year - and made few other plays.
Wright did well for the Lions until he became banged up physically, but to his credit, he played through his injury issues. But he reportedly got more than $15 million for the next two seasons guaranteed. His ability and that kind of money don't match.
It's why the Lions must address cornerback in the draft. Sometimes it's not the best value when it comes to player by player comparison in each round, but it is always when it comes to position. A corner has to get a higher grade. And the Lions would be wise to also cover themselves in the back seven at safety. They need better range deep, which would help take pressure off their corners. By the way, this free agency season points out the most important free agency signing by the Lions last year - retaining Chris Houston.
Backup quarterback Shaun Hill reportedly is visiting St. Louis. Either Hill or Drew Stanton has to go. The Lions can't afford two backup QBs at their cost. Stanton recently visited the New York Jets.