Millen fiddles while Lions free agency plan burns

Is Matt Millen making a mess of the free agency period? Lions' insider Mike Fowler believes so, and gives his analysis on the team's current free-agency funk as it stands, including the middle linebacker position. Much more inside!

(ALLEN PARK) -- You wonder what new Lions head coach Steve Mariucci is thinking.  After casting his lot in with the Detroit Lions, now he is seeing first hand what other teams warned him about...the presence of President and GM Matt Millen.

The Lions so-called free agency game plan, which, as expressed by Mariucci, would land the team four or five quality free agents, is now in total paralysis. 

Millen entertained six free agent linebackers and didn't sign any. The latest slap in the face came when Detroit offered former Green Bay linebacker Nate Wayne a contract, which was matched by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Detroit upped the contract, offering $25,000 more in the signing bonus and $1 million more in base.  Wayne went to Philadelphia anyway.  Why?  Because Millen insisted that Wayne play out of position at the middle linebacker spot. Wayne excelled at the weak side linebacker position in Green Bay.

So three plus weeks into free agency, all Detroit has to show for their efforts is one overpaid defensive back in Dre' Bly

Not only is Detroit not improving, if they don't at least return fourth-year linebacker Chris Claiborne, they'll get worse.  Detroit is even talking about moving undersized strong side linebacker Barrett Green to the middle. 

Millen has a chance to save himself.  Still available are quality linebackers Charlie Clemons (New Orleans), Dwayne Rudd (Cleveland), Earl Holmes (Cleveland), Na'il Diggs (Green Bay), restricted free agent Dhani Jones (Giants) and lesser players like Wali Rainer (Jacksonville) and Hannibal Navies (Carolina). 

Detroit has a need and signing Brian Williams will not fill it.  Detroit needs quality middle and outside linebackers.

It appears that Millen and Chris Claiborne can't stand the thought of being re-united for even another year. Claiborne challenged Millen for his "devout coward" comments.  Millen feels Claiborne was overweight and an underachiever. Both seem to be doing everything that they can to go in other directions, but so far, their are no takers for either.

MOVING TO RECEIVERS?: Detroit is reportedly negotiating with restricted Tai Streets, who no longer figures in San Francisco's plans.  The former University of Michigan standout also has been mentioned in trade talk involving the New York Jets who are looking for a replacement for Laveraneus Coles, who signed an offer sheet with Washington.

Chicago has made it known that Marcus Robinson can be had for as low as a 7th round pick but scouts are concerned that Robinson might be damaged goods.

TWO MORE GONE: Atlanta inked free-agent linebacker Keith Newman (Buffalo) to a three-year deal, while the Cincinnati Bengals matched Green Bay's offer sheet to restricted free agent linebacker Armegis Spearman.


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