Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Number Crunching the Detroit Lions' Offensive Line

While reading my Sunday sports section, I noticed the monster cash offensive guards are getting in NFL free agency, and that got me to thinking about numbers, which I don't really like to do because it exposes my poor math skills. So please indulge me while I think out loud a bit here.

In Cleveland, Eric Steinbach signed a seven-year, $49.5 million contract, while Kris Dielman could rake in up to $39 million over the next six years with the Chargers. So the top shelf of the market for guards right now is about $7 million. (Actually, Steve Hutchinson set that bar last year in signing with the Vikings.) The franchise tag (average of the top five salaries) for offensive linemen is $9.55 million this year. (The Ravens' Jonathan Ogden draws the biggest salary at $10.6 million.)

Last year, the #2 pick in the NFL Draft - Reggie Bush - signed a six-year deal that could be worth as much as $62 million. Two slots later, the first offensive lineman - D'Brickashaw Ferguson - was drafted, and he got a five-year, $27.5 million contract. So you can see where the battle lines will be drawn if the Lions take Joe Thomas at #2 in this year's draft. One of the arguments against selecting Thomas is that they'll have to pay Thomas a left tackle salary when they're already paying Jeff Backus that kind of money. But if the Lions aren't able to trade out of that spot and move lower in the draft, would they actually be saving money down the line with Thomas, considering the free-agent market for offensive lineman?

These numbers might also clarify why George Foster was part of the Dre' Bly deal and how Damien Woody could still have a job in Detroit next season, despite his putrid performance over the last three seasons.

So what I've been trying to do here is make a financial case for the Lions to draft Joe Thomas, but I'm not sure I actually clarified anything, other than drinking a lot of coffee on a Sunday morning makes me want to type a lot in the afternoon.

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  • At March 04, 2007 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Derrick Dockery got $7 million a year from Buffalo, too.

  • At March 07, 2007 9:56 PM, Blogger Cutthroat Pirates said…

    Joe Thomas would be huge for the Lions, and I think it will happen. I also heard that Marshall Faulk is considereing coming out of retirement and playing for the Lions to be with Mike Martz again. He is old but his leadership would be huge.


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