Lions free agency: Week 1 recap
Mar 17, 2014 at 11:29a ET
The first week of the NFL's free agency is coming to an end.
Here's an update of what the Detroit Lions did, didn't do and what they still need to do:
The Lions made Tate their top priority and for the second straight year filled a major void on their offense within 24 hours of free agency beginning.
They finished the deal quickly, before Tate even left town, just like they did a year ago with running back Reggie Bush.
Tate looks like an ideal fit to complement Calvin Johnson. Tate has good hands, can play inside or outside and breaks tackles to create big plays.
Give general manager Martin Mayhew and company a definite "A" for this move.
With Tate and Ihedigbo, Detroit is adding two players who have played on Super Bowl champions. You can't put too much value on that for a team that is trying to learn how to win.
Ihedigbo's connections with the coaching staff make him more attractive to the Lions than possibly other teams. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was Ihedigbo's position coach last season in Baltimore while Lions coach Jim Caldwell was the Ravens' offensive coordinator.
The Lions will be getting an intelligent, experienced player who can be somewhat of an extension of Austin on the field. Ihedigbo (6-foot-1, 214 pounds) is strong against the run and average in coverage.
Give this one a "C," assuming it indeed goes through as anticipated.
Tight end Brandon Pettigrew has been the scapegoat in Detroit for his inconsistent pass-catching ability, but he ignored that and decided to re-sign anyway.
Pettigrew had other options because he was one of the top tight ends on the free-agent market.
Contrary to public opinion, it's a good move to bring him back because of his blocking ability. The Lions wouldn't have found a better replacement who can both block and is a potential threat in the pass game.
They'll just have to live with a drop here and there.
It really wasn't much of a surprise because defensive end Willie Young wanted to cash in and the Lions weren't in position to match the free-agent prices.
They didn't have to with the way Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah and Devin Taylor produced as rookies, and with the expected return of Jason Jones, a free-agent addition last year, from a season-ending knee injury.
Young, who started 15 games in 2013, ended up with division rival Chicago.
The Lions showed interest in fullback Henry "The Hynocerous" Hynoski and center Phil Costa, both free agents.
The new coaching staff is looking to add a true fullback to the roster and the team also needs a backup center who can be groomed to be Dominic Raiola's replacement in a year or so.
But after taking visits to the Linos' headquarters last week, Hynoski re-signed with the New York Giants and Costa took an offer from Indianapolis.
The Lions need to either re-sign Shaun Hill, an unrestricted free agent, or find a capable replacement to be their backup quarterback.
Hill is scheduled to visit Monday with the St. Louis Rams, who need a backup for Sam Bradford.
Hill's chances of playing are greater in St. Louis because the Rams are much more likely to bench Bradford if he struggles than the Lions are with Matthew Stafford.
The Lions don't want to overpay him, but Hill is unquestionably the best fit here because of his experience and the ability he's shown to come off the bench and respond under pressure.
The team's other top unsigned free agent is cornerback Rashean Mathis, who would be a logical player to re-sign at a low price if he doesn't find a good offer elsewhere.