ALLEN PARK - The Detroit Lions are staying active in a dwindling free agent market. Yesterday they agreed to terms with former Packers outside linebacker Paris Lenon, on a reported three year deal that included a $1 million signing bonus. Lenon visited the team a week earlier. A versatile linebacker who can play either the strong or the weak side, he'll get a shot at unseating Detroit's current underachieving starter James Davis.
A five-year veteran from Richmond University, Lenon, 28 was a starter for Green Bay in all sixteen games in 2005 and collected 65 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
Detroit also inked journeyman tackle Barry Stokes yesterday. The well traveled veteran who has played for the Dolphins, Raiders, Packers, Brown, Giants and Falcons, signed a three-year deal with the team.
Detroit will still likely have strong interest in free agent guard Larry Allen, who was released yesterday by the Dallas Cowboys. The nine time pro bowl guard didn't appear in the Cowboys off-season conditioning program in anticipation of his release. He was due a $2 million roster bonus today and had a $7.5 million cap figure had he stayed on the Cowboys roster. Ironically, former Lions guard/tackle Kyle Kosier is expected to try to replace Allen.
This decision is a tough one for me personally," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. "Larry has been the best in pro football for a long time. His ability and performance set a standard for excellence at his position in the NFL for many years, and we are grateful for his contributions to the Dallas Cowboys."
Yesterday Detroit signed veteran guard Rex Tucker, last with St. Louis. Tucker has missed 41 games in the last three season due to injury but has shown the ability to play at a near pro bowl level when healthy.
Detroit visited with safety Mike Furrey who started 11 games last season for the Rams, but did not sign him. Offensive lineman Courtney VanBuren is also expected to visit. VanBuren is a former third-round draft pick of the Chargers whose career was stalled by injuries. That could change with the emergence of Allen, although Detroit is likely looking for competition to Kelly Butler at the right tackle position.
Detroit now has under contract starters Jeff Backus, Damien Woody, Dominic Raiola and Kelly Butler. With Stokes and Tucker signed, Detroit has depth, but probably still needs a starter at the right guard position. Guard/tackle Matt Joyce is a free agent and the club released guard Dave Loverne. Starter Damien Woody is expected to move to the left guard position.
A HOME FOR JOEY:
While their have been several conflicting reports, both the Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals have openly expressed interest in acquiring Lions quarterback Joey Harrington once if he becomes a free agent.
"We have considered both of those options, (Harrington and Kerry Collins), but we're going to weigh that against draft considerations as well, and see where we come out," Cardinals GM Rod Graves said. "There's certainly no opposition to looking at Joey Harrington."
However, one possible landing point, the Kansas City Chiefs, deny even discussing Harrington's possible availability.
"At this point, [Harrington's] under contract," Chiefs coach Herman Edwards told the Kansas City Star "You never talk about guys under contract. You get into that, and you're setting yourself up for a no-win situation. But, no, we haven't really even talked about it."