NFL: Lions solve key needs with three acquisitions
By Nicholas J. Cotsonika
Detroit Free Press
DETROIT — The Detroit Lions appear to be finished with their initial push in free agency, after signing defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and wide receiver Nate Burleson and trading for defensive tackle Corey Williams.
“I’d be surprised if there’s another big one,” coach Jim Schwartz said Saturday.
Plenty of work remains this off-season. The Lions have huge holes at left guard, running back and cornerback.
But Rome wasn’t built in a day.
“Here’s the way I look at it: We solved three big needs on our team, and let’s not look at the entire picture right now,” Schwartz said. “Rather than saying, ’We have all these needs to fill. OK, and we’ve got to do this, this, this and this,’ let’s just feel good about filling these three needs.
“You’ve got players that fit, players that we’re very comfortable with, that we can move forward with, that we’re not trying to replace again next year. Let’s worry about those other positions when that time comes. Let’s not try to solve all our problems at once.”
Schwartz was pleased the Lions were aggressive and selective, as general manager Martin Mayhew said they would be, and they acquired the players they targeted. They paid big money to land Vanden Bosch (four years, $26 million, $10 million in first year) and Burleson (five years, $25 million, $11 million guaranteed).
“We didn’t sit there and say, ’Well, leave them sitting out there. How much is the bid? Well, he’s not going to get that. Let’s sit back a week and wait,’ “ Schwartz said. “There’s a lot of teams that take those kind of approaches. They just sit back and say, ’Hey, look, we’ll just sit back, let some guys sit out there for a little while. When the number comes back down, we’ll get them.’
“We didn’t do that. We said, ’These are the two guys we want. We’re going to be competitive financially. We’re going to put ourselves out there. We have a specific role in mind.’ “
The Lions will continue to be active with lesser free agents. Schwartz used tight end Will Heller as an example of a relative unknown the Lions brought in last year.
“One of our successes last year in free agency and scouting was some of our lower-salaried guys, guys that came in very hungry, guys that came in looking to prove something,” Schwartz said.
“We can find some more players. I thought it was important that we went and didn’t bargain-hunt with these guys.”