Analysis: With McDonald in, is Curtis out?

After the team agreed to a two-year, $2.8 million contract with free-agent receiver Shaun McDonald, it's likely that the Detroit Lions may have withdrawn their bid for Kevin Curtis. What does this mean for Detroit's receiver position? More analysis inside.

ALLEN PARK -- After the team agreed to a two-year, $2.8 million contract with free-agent receiver Shaun McDonald, it's likely that the Detroit Lions may withdraw their bid for Kevin Curtis.

The Lions completed the deal on Monday, landing the four-year veteran with above-average speed. And, like Curtis, a player that has experience within offensive coordinator Mike Martz's pass-happy scheme.

McDonald, 5-10, 177, had his two most productive years with the Rams in 2004 and 2005 under Martz. He tallied 83 receptions and 1,017 yards total between the two campaigns, emerging as a reliable slot receiver until Scott Linehan came aboard as the Rams head coach in 2006.

McDonald's production dipped to just 13 receptions last season.

If McDonald adopts the "slot" role in Detroit's offense, which his contract (backed by $1.5 million in guaranteed money) might signify, the Lions would start receivers Roy Williams and Mike Furrey on the outside -- and perhaps forfeit their interest in Curtis, another St. Louis free-agent. Curtis has visited with multiple teams since his meeting in Detroit, and while the Lions are still a blip on the radar, their interest is rumored to have dropped considerably.

McDonald is also a solid special teams player and can be called upon for kick and punt return duty.

ANALYSIS: What might keep at least a faint pulse in the potential relationship between Curtis and the Lions is Detroit's remaining need for an outside threat. While Furrey is a productive receiver, he is primarily a possession or slot guy, and doesn't have the ability to stretch the field like Curtis -- and neither does McDonald, for that matter.

The signing of McDonald is still solid because, at the least, he provides reliable depth to a receiving core that was anything but consistent in 2006. All too often the team juggled practice squad players, and even cut and later re-signed the unproductive Corey Bradford. In short, Martz never got the production he wanted to out of the position.

Unless the team is wishing upon a star that former No. 10 overall pick Mike Williams drops to the suggested playing weight (hope ...) and becomes the player they thought they drafted two years ago ( ... and a prayer), the acquisition of McDonald doesn't solve the dilemma at receiver. In fact, if Curtis is no longer in Detroit's plans, it might actually pave the way for the drafting of Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson.

Johnson would line up opposite Roy Williams, giving Martz the speed tandem (see: Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt) that he prefers, along with a formidable possession receiver in Furrey.

Nate Caminata, publisher of the Roar Report, is an award-winning journalist and has written for numerous publications in both print and on the internet. He has covered the Detroit Lions for 10 years.

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