Thursday, July 17, 2008

Player Rumors and Drafted Rookies Update


Early last week, the Tampa Bay Tribune reported that the Lions are interested in Chris Simms. The NFL Network has reported that the Lions may be interested in Takeo Spikes and various media outlets have reported that Daunte Culpepper (acting as his own agent) has contacted the Lions offering his services.

Chris Simms - I don't doubt that the Lions have inquired about Chris Simms. Any team that potentially could use a quarterback, should inquire. The Lions currently have an aging veteran in Jon Kitna, a four-year jouneyman that has attempted 17 career passes in Dan Orlovsky and basically a rookie in Drew Stanton as last season, he was placed on injured reserve at the start of training camp. There are several good reasons for the Lions to consider a veteran QB and with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers having five on their current roster (four if you don't count Jake Plummer), they are looking to trade one before they have to cut someone before the start of the season and all the rumors have pointed to Chris Simms being the odd man out. Rod Marinelli was coaching the defensive line in Tampa for 3 seasons while Simms was there and we all know how Rod likes to sign players that he's familiar with. In many ways it does make sense for the Lions to pursue Simms, but my guess is that the Lions were just doing their "due diligence" in inquiring about Simms. Simms' $2M base salary is in line with what veteran backup QB's make, but if the Lions were to trade for Simms, they would have to free up $1.5M in cap space. I doubt that a trade is in the works, but I think the Lions would consider signing him if he were cut.

Takeo Spikes - The former pro bowl linebacker is an aging linebacker that could help the Lions as they try to get Jordan Dizon acclimated to the NFL. Spikes made $4.5M last year, but I don't think it'll cost that much to sign him as he was released by the Eagles at the start of free agency and hasn't landed a job yet. Considering his age, prior salary and the lack of a job, my guess is that it would cost somewhere between $1.5M and $2.5M to land Spikes. Once again, the Lions would have to free up some salary cap space if they were to sign him and if they are going to sign him, it'll likely be done before the end of the week.

Daunte Culpepper - Is his own agent and is looking for a job for the season. I think that his better days are well behind him and he won't be playing football this year. He negotiated a contract in which (I believe) he robbed the Raiders. Just by signing the contract, he was guaranteed $750K. Once he made the opening roster, he was guaranteed $2.6M and once he was on the team after the sixth game, he was guaranteed $3.2M for the season. I think he's looking for a similar contract this year and he's not going to get it. He's already turned down $1M contract from the Packers. I don't see any chance that the Lions sign Culpepper.

Our Rookie Draft Picks - The Lions have never signed their rookies early, but it's odd that they have only officially signed one draft pick, Cliff Avril. My guess is that they have basically agreed to the money that will be paid to all the rookies drafted in the third round or later, but are holding up the contracts to see how they want to recognize the money for salary cap purposes. Jordan Dizon's contract is likely very close to being finalized as well. Gosder Cherilus' contract will allow the most flexibility to manipulate the salary cap and if needed, could be manipulated to keep salary cap space free for a player like Takeo Spikes. If needed, Jason Hanson's contract could be extended to free up salary cap space or Cory Redding contract could be restructured to free up salary cap space.

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