I don't like the Detroit Lions using the franchise player tag on Cory Redding. I understand he's starting to look like a better than average player. Yet, I still can't justify the Detroit Lions giving him the franchise tag. To be more specific, I can't see giving him franchise tag player money. He's not an elite D-lineman. Could he be? Someday, I suppose. Could he also be a player who plays well when his contract expires? Yep.
To commit to Redding seems like another short-sighted move on the Lions part. They would argue to the contrary and I've read the thoughts of some who like the move, but the Lions have now tied up elite lineman money on a guy with one good season under his belt. It's the Jeff Backus move, Part II.
Giving Backus top dollar because he was the best of a sorry lot is about to backfire. The Lions with the second overall pick in the draft appear unlikely to draft a quarterback, although we all know they need one, and can't possibly draft WR Calvin Johnson no matter how tremendous he will be because Matt Millen has already wasted three first round picks on wideouts. So, that leaves tackle Joe Thomas as Detroit's most likely choice.
We all agree the Lions need O-lineman. That's not the issue. The problem is that Thomas is a left tackle -- the highest paid position on the offensive line. If they grab Thomas, the Lions will have to pay him top dollar. Then, they will have to move either Backus or Thomas to right tackle. In which case, the Lions will be paying LT money to two guys instead of one. In a salary cap league, on a team in need of help at so many spots, how can they justify paying two left tackles?
Giving Redding top dollar, even if it's only for one season, inhibits the Lions ability to not only spend on other positions, but limits their choices. They might have to opt for the fourth best linebacker on the free agent market instead of the top two because they can't afford the elite level player. Maybe they can't afford a free agent running back at all because they've got too much money tied up in left tackles and defensive linemen.
I realize the Lions are desperate to keep anyone that resembles a NFL quality player. I'm desperate for them to play like a NFL quality team. Yet, it seems unlikely for them to make much progress on that front when they continue to throw good money after bad.