Every week, we take some of your questions for a weekly Detroit Lions Mailbag. To ask a question for a future mailbag, use the hashtag #LionsMailbag on Twitter or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, on to this week’s questions.
#LionsMailbag I feel like like Patricia will want to make a splash his first year. What are chances of getting Bell? Well that cap stress us to much?— Michael Knight (@mwayneknight) February 16, 2018
Michael, first thing is any sort of move there would be a combination of Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn (and if it’s a big-ticket free agent like Le'Veon Bell, team president Rod Wood would likely be consulted because of the potential money involved). While Bell is an attractive option – and undeniably a talented one – there are some major issues here. First is Bell becoming available. Still have a very, very hard time seeing Pittsburgh letting Bell reach free agency. The franchise tag remains an option there and Pittsburgh GM (and former Lions staffer) Kevin Colbert has said the team wants to get a deal done for Bell long-term. Usually if both sides are interested, a deal happens. If – and this is a big if – Bell somehow reaches the open market, his contract demands probably are going to be more expensive than Detroit will want to spend on a back. Remember, both Quinn and Patricia come from a system where multiple backs have been used with good success. It’s why players such as Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead could make more sense. Plus, if I’m Bell, I would be concerned both with the Lions’ scheme and with the offensive line. While money talks (and talks a lot), Bell is going to want to go somewhere he knows he can be successful. Detroit hasn’t proved it can be successful as a running team since 2013. So while Bell could fit the Lions (and really fit any team other than places with an established top-flight rusher), at this point it just seems highly unlikely. Other than the former Patriots backs, if Carlos Hyde and Isaiah Crowell end up available, they could be players for Detroit to consider. A lot of this will begin to be sorted in two weeks at the NFL combine. If the Lions make a “splash” in free agency – and Quinn has shown willingness to do that at receiver and offensive line in past years – it could come on defense, where the Lions need a bunch of help.
#lionsmailbag do you think there's any possibility that the Lions keep Abdullah?— Ryan Guzman (@RyanGuzEPLV) February 16, 2018
Ryan, sure, the Lions could keep Ameer Abdullah for the final year of his contract – or at least have him around to compete in training camp. It’s not like keeping him around will cost the Lions much. He is due just $1.322 million against the cap and cutting him would free up just over $1 million because of the $320,660 in prorated signing bonus money. Considering Detroit has over $45 million in cap space, even with a potential Ezekiel Ansah franchise tag there is a lot of money to make a run at some free agents. Moving on from Abdullah, who has talent, would not make sense at this point – even if, as I wrote earlier this week, he could benefit from a change of scenery. If I were the Lions, I would look to investigate trade opportunities for him where a draft pick could come back in return. That wouldn’t happen if the Lions cut him.
#LionsMailbag Is Quandre Diggs going to remain at safety next year? I was real impressed by him at the end of last season.— Chim Ritchels (@ChimRitchels) February 16, 2018
Chim, that’s one of the more underrated questions of the offseason. For now, it seems like that is the plan. Quandre Diggs played well at safety. He always seemed like he was going to make the eventual move – it just happened earlier than expected due to Tavon Wilson’s season-ending injury. He did play well during his December run at safety and should be penciled in (only in pencil, though) as a starter opposite Glover Quin. The interesting thing for Detroit and Diggs is what happens at nickel. If the Lions, say, re-sign Wilson to have him compete with Diggs, it could move Diggs back to the nickel even if he wins the starting safety spot. What happens in free agency should dictate how the Lions view Diggs entering 2018 – as a penciled-in starter at safety or someone who is going to be in a big competition for his job.
#LionsMailbag Suh. It's the new Lions Hot Topic. He is not a FA, so (in fantasy) would we have to trade for him. Doesn't that mean that the dolphins are still on the hook for the dead money of his contract? If so, were talking an average of 12 mil a year to bring him to Detroit.— Beer Worshiping Cult (@cerevisi) February 15, 2018
I get the question, for sure, but I just don’t see a reunion happening even with a total overhaul of the coaching staff and front office since Ndamukong Suh’s departure following the 2014 season. If, as your question asks, he’s still part of the Dolphins I don’t see that happening at all. The cap numbers are still too high for it to be realistically feasible for the Lions to have it and have a deep team – especially if there needs to be overhaul at other positions. Now if Suh were to become a free agent, I still don’t see it happening. He’s a dominant defensive tackle. He’s also 31, already left Detroit once and has never given an indication he would want to return to the Lions – a team he could have stayed with long ago. Now, the Lions made their mistakes with the handling of Suh’s contract negotiations, from the lack of tagging him to not getting a deal done before he approached free agency. All of this is to say one thing: I’ve learned to never say never and I can always be wrong, but I just don’t see it happening.