Detroit has "Pudge", "Rasheed"; Lions need Bailey

Champ Bailey is better than any player the Lions could pick with the 6th overall pick this year and even if the Lions miss plugging one hole in some other area of need next year in the second round, so what?

(ALLEN PARK) - Are you fed up like I am of all the columnists, radio personalities and beat writers who are telling you ‘the sky would fall' if the Lions trade their first and second round picks to the Washington Redskins for Champ Bailey? Let's get real for a second.

What is the worst thing that could happen if the Lions gave the Skins both their 6th overall pick this year and next year's second round pick? Champ Bailey is better than any player the Lions could pick with the 6th overall pick this year and a even if the Lions miss plugging one hole in some other area of need next year in the second round, so what?

The Lions have already hit rock bottom and it's a place they never want to revisit again. No player they draft this year, including safety Sean Taylor of Miami is going to have the impact that Champ Bailey, who is clearly in his prime right now, would have.

Bailey would solidify Detroit's secondary like no other player could. The pairing of Bailey and Dre' Bly would strike fear into opposing offenses like no other team in the NFL could.

When was the last time ANYBODY feared the Detroit Lions?

Opposing quarterbacks would be scared to death to throw a football in either player's direction. This year, teams simply threw away from Bly against stop gap players like Doug Evans and Otis Smith. Meanwhile, Bly and Bailey were both selected to the Pro Bowl this year, this was Bly's first appearance, and Bailey has made it four straight seasons.

If the Redskins want a player, few are untouchables on this team. The ‘Skins need a running back, tight end and defensive linemen. Well, offer running back James Stewart, tight end Mikhael Ricks, a pro bowl alternate and perhaps second year defensive tackle/end Cory Redding. Of course, the Lions would have to draw the line and not give up any players from their very small nucleus of young stars.

The Lions need to take a look across the street at what Mike Illitch did with his Tigers, who also reach never before seen depths in the won-loss column. Illitch electrified Tiger fans by pursuing, not giving up on negotiations and finally landing catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, the biggest star the Tigers have had in years.

Even the Pistons, who won their division last season, saw they weren't a serious championship contender and made a gutsy trade to acquire a star to propel them to the top of the Eastern Conference when they traded four players for former Portland Trailblazers standout Rasheed Wallace.

"Oh, but the cap room," the trade critics cry. "There would be no room to sign other players! Bailey would demand at least $55 million!"

Nonsense.

First, Bailey would take less to fulfill his dream of playing with his brother as long as Detroit is in the ballpark with their offer.

Second, Detroit Lions properties Chief Operating Officer Tom Lewand is one of the shrewdest and creative financial minds in the NFL. Give him a crack at it and I'll bet he crafts a deal that satisfies all concerned and preserves enough cap room for the Lions to be a player for other free agents. Lewand was one of the driving forces behind getting Ford Field built downtown when other said it was too late to get a deal done.

An aside to Matt Millen; don't sit on the fence, don't take the safe route. Forget what the de facto GMs are saying in their articles and columns. Don't let some other team make the move you should've made.

At least one individual in the Lions organization gets it. "It might be a moot point soon," said head coach Steve Mariucci, "but we're interested in talking about it. It would be like a Pudge Rodriguez signing (with the Tigers), which was very exciting to the city of Detroit."

Millen, listen to what your coach Mariucci is telling you. Get creative and find a way to bring Champ Bailey to Detroit.


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