Slow Moving Lions Have Work To Do In Free Agency

Three days into the NFL's annual shopping spree, the Lions seemingly have been content to let the big rush die down before going shopping for players to fill some of the teams most glaring needs.

ALLEN PARK - A trip to the NFL owner's meetings and to the University of Miami's pro day have kept Lions president Matt Millen and C.O.O. Tom Lewand out of the Allen Park headquarters during the start of free agency.

Three days into the NFL's annual shopping spree, the Lions seemingly have been content to let the big rush die down before going shopping for players to fill some of the teams most glaring needs.

All signs point toward the Lions finally diving into the market this weekend. Denver safety Kenoy Kennedy, the subject of several unsubstantiated reports, will visit Detroit on Friday and take a tour of the Lions' Allen Park facilities and likely Ford Field in downtown Detroit.

Kennedy's agent, Vann McElroy, confirmed that he is in the process of arranging a visit to Detroit. The Lions are among the front runners for Kennedy's services. At 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, he is a physical presence in the middle of a secondary and many observers felt that he outplayed fellow Denver safety, the more highly touted John Lynch.

Former New York Giants quarterback Kurt Warner and Tampa Bay Buccaneers backup Brad Johnson are also expected to visit the Lions either this weekend or early next week.

Detroit was expected to host former Packers guard Marco Rivera, but that went by the wayside when he signed with the Dallas Cowboys. Green Bay also lost guard Mike Wahle, a player Detroit likely would have had interest in, after he agreed to terms with the Carolina Panthers.

If Detroit is able to sign Kennedy, that would greatly relieve their problems in the secondary and allow them to address their offensive line needs. With veteran Stockar McDougle testing the market, the Lions may need to acquire replacements for two starting offensive line positions.

Some feel that former seventh round pick (2002) Victor Rogers or rookie sixth round pick (2004) Kelly Butler could step in and fill those positions, but that seems like a stretch considering neither has had substantial playing time. Does Detroit really want to risk stalling their fledgling running attack by starting an untested player at such a key position?

Detroit is unlikely to pay what former Ohio State standout and St. Louis Rams superstar Orlando Pace would command on the open market and with the next best player available, tackle Jonas Jennings signing with the San Francisco 49ers, the talent available at that position is thinning.

While former 49ers and Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia seems to be the best fit for Detroit's offense, reports have Garcia getting closer to an agreement with the Denver Broncos, at the urging of former 49ers head coach Bill Walsh.

The jury is still out on how the 2005 free agency period will turn out for the Lions. There may still be some good bargains when the Lions get around to shopping for them, but with around $20 million in cap space to play with, it's easy to wonder why a team that hasn't seen .500 in four seasons didn't come out more aggressively to fill some of their needs.

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