No more Dre'? Lions' CB seeks trade

Lions' GM Matt Millen and head coach Rod Marinelli aren't exactly thrilled with the prospect of losing cornerback Dre' Bly this off-season. But don't expect the franchise to lose much sleep over it, either.

Lions' GM Matt Millen and head coach Rod Marinelli aren't exactly thrilled with the prospect of losing cornerback Dre' Bly this off-season.

But don't expect the franchise to lose much sleep over it, either.

Bly, whose recent trade request was approved on Tuesday, wants to spend the remainder of his career with a franchise that has Super Bowl potential. Apparently, he didn't feel Detroit met the requisite.

Considered one of Millen's few bright free-agent acquisitions, Bly spent the past four seasons as Detroit's most productive, entertaining and sometimes controversial player. But he has also dealt with three different head coaches and a losing mentality that the organization has been unable to shake.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Matt and Rod allowing me the opportunity to find a home for Dre' Bly that is more conducive to his Pro Bowl skill set," Bly's agent told the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday.

Under first-year head coach Rod Marinelli, Bly's production dipped. Recognized as one of the best man-to-man cover corners in the league, Bly accrued just three interceptions in 2006, and never adapted well to Marinelli's Cover Two defense -- a system that relies upon zone coverage and requires its corners to be physical against the run. Bly is not an aggressive player, and his tackling ability has always been considered subpar.

Despite appearing in two Pro Bowls as a Lion, Bly's awkward fit in 2006 may have even hampered more than helped the defense. And his captivating play aside, the team is of the mindset that he isn't only replaceable, but that his departure could result in a more productive defense.

If a suitable replacement is found, anyway.

But with Bly on the trading block, Detroit will certainly have its options both via draft and in free-agency.

While the nature of Bly's situation is that he would have to pursue his own trade interests (and the Lions would have to approve), it's more likely that Detroit will now entertain offers -- and could pitch their own.

With veteran corner Fernando Bryant considered a lock on one side of the field, the Lions can use Bly -- who will also save the team $4.2 million in cap savings -- as leverage on draft day. Millen, certainly not a stranger to draft dealings, could package Bly with a mid-round pick to move up into the first round.

Another possibility is to use Bly to pick up an additional second or third round pick. Bly, who turns 30 in May, isn't worthy of a first round pick, but will certainly be considered by playoff-calber teams in need of a final piece on the defense. Likely trade partners include Carolina, New Orleans, New England and Denver.

Interestingly, Bly's emergence on the trade block might also rekindle the Bly-for-Clinton Portis rumors, which circled near the end of last season with regards to the Washington Redskins' running back. But Bly's interest to win now, rather than later, might leave the Skins out of the equation.

Although it's possible they could rely upon a rookie defensive back to replace Bly, or current cornerbacks Stanley Wilson or Keith Smith, the Lions will be enticed by unrestricted free-agents Nate Clements (Buffalo), New England's Asante Samuel (New England) and Cincinnati's Tory James.


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