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Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Lions continue free agent activity

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Wednesday is turning into a pretty busy day at Detroit's practice facility with a list of visiting free agents that continues to grow.

The Detroit Free Press just reported that defensive end Vonnie Holliday is en route to Allen Park, Mich., where he will join nose tackle Grady Jackson and offensive lineman Daniel Loper. The Sporting News has reported that tight end L.J. Smith, who spent the past six seasons with Philadelphia, could also arrive Wednesday for a visit. (The link to that story is no longer active, however.)

The Lions opened free agency with about $35 million in salary-cap space, and their strategy this offseason is now clear: Improve their roster from "depleted" to "functional" at as many positions as they can. Already, they've signed running back Maurice Morris, receiver Bryant Johnson and cornerback Eric King. They also acquired cornerback Anthony Henry in a trade with Dallas.

None of these players are so-called "first-tier" free agents, but as a group they can help the Lions improve in the short term. After a series of unproductive drafts under former general manager Matt Millen, the Lions had little choice but to take this type of approach to free agency.

Ultimately, the Lions will have to improve their draft production. But in the short term, this is a necessary approach.