Lions Continue Window Shopping, Visit with Garmon

While the Detroit Lions appear content to just "window shop" as the free agent period continues, they still realize that they must, at some point, address the right guard position. Lions' insider Mike Fowler looks at Detroit's remaining options.

(ALLEN PARK) - While the Detroit Lions appear content to just "window shop" as the free agent period continues, they still realize that they must, at some point, address the right guard position.

Detroit scored a touchdown when they paid a handsome price to land former Patriots center/guard Damien Woody to play the left guard position. Now the left side of their interior lineappears solid with Woody and Jeff Backus, a number one pick three years ago from Michigan.

But with Eric Beverly signing with the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit has a need to put someone at the right guard spot next to emerging talent Stockar McDougle. Had Beverly returned, he was the odds-on favorite to take over the spot vacated by the retired Ray Brown.

With Beverly gone, Detroit yesterday hosted guard Kelvin Garmon, a five-year veteran of the San Diego Chargers. Garmon is young enough that he could grow into the position, however the Insiders Michael Lombardo, who covers the Chargers beat, called Garmon "the weakest pass protector of the five opening-day [Chargers'] starters."

Detroit is expected to take visits from some of the other free agent guards and also running back Amos Zereoue, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Among the guards who could visit Detroit in the coming days are Tampa Bay Bucs guard Cosey Coleman, a solid run blocker and pass protector despite reports to the contrary. Reports have surfaced that Coleman has some lingering undisclosed health problems that have caused him not to be signed early in free agency, this according to a league source.

Philadelphia Eagles guard Bobbie Williams is said to be negotiating with the Cincinnati Bengals, who failed in their efforts to sign their top two choices at the position, Woody and former Panthers guard Jeno James, who signed with Miami.

Former Falcons guard Travis Claridge is just 26 and is a Detroit native. Having finished his third year in the league, he reportedly would love to return to his native Detroit after the Falcons replaced him on the roster with Beverly.

Former Buffalo Bills guard Ruben Brown would also be an upgrade as well, but Detroit could decide not to even address the position until after the draft.

According to league rules, teams can tender an offer to their unsigned unrestricted free agents no later than June 1 to receive exclusive negotiating rights with them for the rest of the season if they are not signed with a new club by July 22.

That effectively makes July 22 a deadline for teams like the Lions who are trolling for bargains. Detroit would no doubt use their post-draft mini camp session to gauge their needs and decide how to proceed.

However, both head coach Steve Mariucci and President and General Manager Matt Millen have stated that, even with Woody's signing, they need to continue to address the offensive line position.

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