The Lions front office wanted change and change is what they are getting. Gone are strong safety Ron Rice, middle linebacker Stephen Boyd, free safety Kurt Schulz, defensive end Tracy Scroggins, after June first quarterback Charlie Batch, and wide receiver Herman Moore will be gone as well. The Lions have not re-signed any of their own free agents as well and they are free to sign with any team that they want. There are also two more possible cuts that could happen depending on who the Lions sign and who is willing to work with their contracts.
The Lions are after a running back in the free-agent market; Tampa Bay's Warrick Dunn was in Detroit Thursday visiting with the Lions front office. The Lions also plan on meeting with the 49ers Garrison Hearst, and there is some talk about the Lions going after the Seahawks Ricky Watters. If the Lions can sign one of these free-agent running backs, the Lions will likely cut running back James Stewart and get ride of his huge 5 year, $ 25-million dollar contract. Dunn makes the most sense, one he is younger then both Hearst, and Watters, two he has never been truly the featured back and he could do that in Detroit's West Coast offense.
Talking about Dunn, Millen said, "He could be the guy."
All three running backs would be a better fit in the West Coast Offense then James Stewart, plus the Lions could get all three at a lower price then what Stewart is making. Stewart and his agent had been asked to redo Stewart's deal to a lower base salary but there has been no progress in that area.
The other player might be cut is wide receiver Johnnie Morton, who cap number will be around $ 5 million for this season and this is his last year on his contract. The Lions would like to redo his deal and sign him to a long contract and keep him around for next season and if the future but Morton wants a contract the size that Rod Smith got from Denver before the free-agent market opened last week, but the Lions do not think that he is worth that.
Since the Lions signed Az-Zahir Hakim and if Morton is unwilling to redo his contract before March 15th when Morton is scheduled to get a $1 million dollar roster bonus, he to could be released. Hakim wants to be a feature guy and the Lions plan on making him one.
"He's a feature guy with big-play potential, big speed. He's a feature guy. There's a lot of ways to feature people," said Millen.
But the Lions are not just sitting around and waiting on this guys, they are still working. The Lions are waiting to hear from Miami free safety Brock Marion. Safety Blaine Bishop of Tennessee is expected to visit the Lions this weekend. Wide receiver Chris Sanders of the Tennessee Titans visited the Lions Friday. The Lions are also waiting to hear what tight end Mikhael Ricks of Kansas City and Ken Dilger of the Colts plans are. Cornerback Duane Starks, an unrestricted free agent from Baltimore is visited the Lions Thursday.
NOTES: The Lions plan to talk with the agents of free-agent outside linebackers, Kevin Hardy of Jacksonville, James Farior of the Jets, and Donnie Edwards of the Chiefs.