Jansen: A no-risk move for Detroit

May, 29, 2009
5/29/09
10:28
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

If I had to guess, I'd say Jon Jansen will serve as a well-heeled insurance policy for Detroit this season.

Jansen has missed 34 games over the past five years because of injuries, and Washington owner Daniel Snyder reportedly tried to talk him into retiring during a meeting Friday. Instead, Jansen accepted the Lions' one-year contract offer, according to multiple news outlets. (Here is a report from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press.)

Jansen has had a good career, but at 33 and with his injury history, I don't think the Lions will pencil him in as a starter. I would imagine Gosder Cherilus, last year's No. 1 draft choice, will still get the first crack at the right tackle with Jeff Backus at left tackle.

Aaron asked over on Facebook if the Lions would consider using Jansen on the left side to facilitate their long-rumored move of Backus to left guard. I'd have to say that is an unlikely scenario. No one is sure how much Jansen has left in him. The Redskins thought he should retire. Stranger things have happened, but I don't think that's an ideal scenario for a starting left tackle.

More likely, it's an insurance arrangement. The Lions were willing to give Jansen an opportunity to prove he can still play. If he manages a career renaissance, then suddenly the Lions have an unexpected option for their offensive line. Otherwise, they'll have a prominent backup -- or, at the very least, the satisfaction of knowing they continued to turn over every leaf for personnel improvement this offseason.

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