Lions Improve Early In Free Agency
By CJ Siewert
The Detroit Lions signed four free agents – all 28 years old or younger – to improve the club on both sides of the ball.
After signing a four-year deal, Reggie Bush is set to be the team’s No. 1 running back for an organization that hasn’t seen a 1,000-yard rusher since Kevin Jones ran for 1,133 yards in 2004. In his past two seasons with Miami, Bush ran for 2,072 yards and 12 TDs. Although his numbers have declined as a receiver, he is still a threat out of the backfield having nearly reached 300 receiving yards in each of the last two seasons. Bush will ease the pain of a rushing offense that ranked 23rd in yards last year.
Glover Quin was touted by many as the best safety available on the market and the Lions locked him up with a five-year contract. Quin is coming off arguably his best season during his first four years in the League, amassing 85 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and his first career sack.
Jason Jones fills a need at defensive end with Cliff Avril and Lawrence Jackson testing the free agent market. The 6-foot-5, 276-pound Detroit native has ties with the coaching staff as head coach Jim Schwartz drafted Jones when he was the defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans in 2008. With the opportunity to start in 2013, Jones will look to improve on his last season in Seattle, where he played in 12 games without a start, totaling only 10 tackles and 3.0 sacks.
Re-signing with the club was Chris Houston. The Lions' top cornerback last year inked a five-year deal after proving himself as a valuable asset in the secondary. During his three years in Detroit, Houston has accumulated 165 tackles and eight interceptions – five of which during the 2011 season.
These four signings make it clear that general manager Martin Mayhew wants to bolster the defense with proven youth, while solidifying the running back position – which hasn’t seen a standout player since Hall of Famer Barry Sanders.