With a passing attack that statistically ranked as the NFL's worst in 2003, the Detroit Lions need to provide two-year veteran quarterback Joey Harrington with more weapons, and they took another step on Wednesday toward doing that.
The Lions have signed unrestricted free agent Tai Streets, a veteran who played his entire five-year career with the San Francisco 49ers, to a one-year contract. The deal is worth $1.5 million and includes a $750,000 signing bonus.
Streets, 26, will be reunited in Detroit with Steve Mariucci, who was his head coach in San Francisco for the first four season of the wide receiver's career. The contract also represents a homecoming of sorts, since Streets played collegiately at Michigan.
"He knows the offense and he knows a lot of the coaches from
San Francisco," Mariucci said. "This is a situation where he can
hit things running when we start camp."
Despite being a bit of a long strider, Streets is still regarded as a solid possession receiver, and at 6-feet-2 and 205 pounds, should bring a much-needed physical dimension to the Detroit receiver corps. He likely will be either the No. 2 or No. 3 wideout for the Lions.
The team did not have a wide receiver with more than 49 catches in 2003.
Detroit's first-round pick in 2003, wide receiver Charles Rogers, appeared in just five games because of a broken collarbone. Veteran wideout Az-Zahir Hakim was slow to round back into form following a serious 2002 hip injury. So the addition of Streets certainly appears to be a solid one.
A starter in all 16 games in 2003, Streets had 47 receptions for 595 yards and seven touchdowns, but still saw his overall playing time somewhat diminished. In 2002, he had career bests in catches (72) and yards (756), while scoring five times.
In 65 career appearances and 33 starts, Streets has 168 receptions for 2,008 yards and 13 touchdowns. He missed much of his rookie season in 1999, after being a sixth-round draft pick, with a torn right Achilles. Over the last two seasons, he started 29 games.
Streets felt that he was eligible for unrestricted free agency last spring but, because of a contract technicality, he was deemed by the league to be just a restricted veteran.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com. Senior writer John Clayton and The Associated Press contributed to this report.