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For your peace of mind, I've separated this week's mailbag into two categories. You'll see "Objections to the Matthew Stafford/ESPN Research post" on Sunday. Today is "All Others."
Jessie of Sacramento writes: I'm a lions fan who has the opinion that we should draft matthew stafford. however, many of my fellow lions fans believe aaron curry should be the pick. now while i know he's going to be a stud in the NFL, his contract may be too large to be drafted at number 1. if he gets number 1 money, he will be instantly the highest paid LB in the league. how could anyone possibly justify picking him at 1 then? what kind of a contract would you expect him to demand at #1?
Kevin Seifert: That's an interesting angle to take. The NFL's rookie pay scale is so out of whack that the No. 1 pick almost always becomes one of the league's highest-paid players at his position. If Curry goes No. 1, he would be in line for a contract that includes about $30 million in guaranteed money. That's more than twice what Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis got in his latest contract. As it stands now, the league's highest-paid linebacker is Bart Scott of the New York Jets, who got $22 million guaranteed in his new contract.
Steve of Burlington, Ontario, writes: Do you anticipate the Lions releasing their new logo and colors prior to the draft to boost new jersey sales... hopefully Curry jerseys...they seem to be treating it like a bride on her wedding day and us long suffering fans are the groom. Give us something. We've been waiting for over a decade.
Kevin Seifert: The whole situation has been curious. Teams often acknowledge that they are planning a change to help build anticipation toward an unveiling, but the Lions have just been pretty quiet on the topic. There has been a lot of circumstantial evidence -- a big sale on 2008 merchandise and an apparent slip of the tongue by newcomer Grady Jackson -- but nothing definitive. The Lions will want to have this resolved one way or the other before the draft. Here's one cynical suggestion: Keep the old uniforms for one more year, forcing those who want to root for the No. 1 overall pick to buy an old one in 2009 and a new one in 2010.
Josh of Tuscaloosa writes: Kevin, I am a student at the University of Alabama and a Packer fan! My insight from a student stand point is that Andre Smith let his team down in their biggest moment. He is not the most loved guy on campus, or in the state for that matter. However, I can say that before he went somewhat off the deep end, he as far as we know was a model citizen here. Nick Saban has cracked down hard on players who don't tow the line but Andre was never one of those until January. I think he is young and dumb to be honest. His work ethic IS a problem. He is blessed with tremendous skill, I have watched him destroy opponents, but maybe he never took that skill to the weight room. My second part of this is as a Packer fan. As much as I want Andre to succeed, I DO NOT WANT HIM TO BE A PACKER. If you did not know, Ted Thompson was here right across the street from me. I know that he was here for Andre. Andre is not the answer to Cheeseheads' prayers Kevin. Thank you for your wonderful work. Have a good day!
Kevin Seifert: You're right, Josh. Ted Thompson himself was at the Alabama pro day, and I would imagine he wasn't happy to see Smith so out of shape. This will be a classic risk-reward decision. There seems to be little doubt that Smith can play the game. And offensive linemen don't necessarily have to be in Olympic shape to play at a high level. But what Thompson will have to determine is whether Smith's lack of conditioning is a result of laziness, bad advice or the need for a change of scenery. I just think what Smith has shown on tape is enough to merit a long look at him with the No. 9 overall pick.
Mike of Sacramento writes: Thanks for the breakdown on Andre "You Gonna Eat That?" Smith's chances of falling to the Packers at pick 9. I think we'd be better off going with defense on the first pick, then trying to get Beatty out of UConn. On that note, the ol' married couple of Kiper/McShay amazingly have formed a consensus in their latest mock that Tyson Jackson out of LSU is the best DE prospect in this year's draft for a 3-4 defense (they both have him going to Denver at 12). With Cullen Jenkins having injury problems and Johnny Jolly's interactions with Texas law enforcement, would it be considered a reach for the Packers to take Jackson at the 9 slot? Keep up the great work.
Kevin Seifert: Actually, Kiper likes Texas' Brian Orakpo as an end and McShay is high on Penn State's Aaron Maybin. I won't pretend to try to break down the pluses and minuses of Jackson, Maybin and Orakpo other than to say I think the Packers should draft the best pass-rusher and not necessarily the one they believe fits best into a 3-4 alignment. Get the player, then design a scheme around him.
Steve of Rochester writes: Kevin, I find the speculation that Jay Cutler might be available to the Vikings via trade very intriguing since I've had a private theory that in the 2006 draft Vikings coach Brad Childress was hoping to draft Cutler. Many thought Cutler was the best prospect but was predicted (correctly) to be the 3rd QB taken that year. In 2006 the Vikings had the 17th pick. Should be good enough to get the 3rd QB selected, right? After all in 2005 the 2nd QB (Rogers) was not drafted until the 24 selection and no team from the 11-16 picks should be looking to draft a QB in the first round. But the smarter Shanahan traded up from the 15th pick to the 11th to ensure that he would get Cutler. There goes Childress' franchise QB that he was going to brilliantly pick up in his first draft as an NFL head coach. So the Vikings, in a panic, have to trade up to take Jackson in round 2. Childress can't say he blew it with missing Cutler so he tells everyone (and himself) that he can mold Jackson into a starting QB. Your thoughts?
Kevin Seifert: Sounds like a good theory to me, although I've never had anyone tell me that in so many words. I think the Vikings were genuinely interested in Cutler back then, but they also put in a lot of work on Tarvaris Jackson. I believe they thought there was a pretty good chance they wouldn't get Cutler -- and/or wouldn't be willing to trade up to get him -- and would have to look elsewhere for a quarterback. That all said, I continue to think the Vikings would be silly not to explore every possibility if Cutler becomes available.
Alex of Kenosha, Wis., writes: Kevin: Huge Minnesota fan. Are the Vikings going to throw any money around this offseason? I know they were going for TJ, and lost out on Nate Washington. Harrison and Garcia are still out there, any chance they will give either of these guys a look? Thanks. Alex.
Kevin Seifert: After trading for Sage Rosenfels, I'd be shocked if they pursued Jeff Garcia. As for receiver, I'm guessing they're going to look at the draft. That could change if Torry Holt is released as expected, but at this point I'm not sensing any desire on their part to spend money just for the sake of spending.
Niraj of Chicago writes: Hi Kevin, I've been extremely disappointed that my beloved Chicago Bears have done next-to-nothing in the free agency market. Do you have any indication why this has been the case? Thanks, Niraj.
Kevin Seifert: What, you didn't like the Josh Bullocks signing? My only guess is that the Bears have committed themselves to getting better with their own players, especially the ones they signed to lucrative extensions last summer. That includes Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, Devin Hester and Tommie Harris. They chose to put their money into those players, and very few teams spend lavishly on their own players while also acquiring big-name talent on the free-agent market as well.
Brad of Collinsville writes: Kevin, what is your view about Chicago's Quarterback situation. Do you think their sitting around and letting good prospects escape them or do you think they might be thinking about Michael Vick, since he might have 4 or 5 years good playing time left in him and that he is very athletic in the way he can run out of the pocket.
Kevin Seifert: No, I think they are committed to giving Kyle Orton one more year to prove himself. If he falters in 2009, you'll see a more aggressive search for a new quarterback. I assume.
Holgate writes: What are the chances of the Lions passing on a Qb with the first pick, and possibly landing Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez with the 20th pick they have in the first round?
Kevin Seifert: These things change every day, but as of now I'd say it's pretty unlikely either guy would be available at No. 20.
Tom of Midland writes: Kevin, read the blog daily and love it. Thanks! Here's a question. Why don't the Lions have an all out 2009 defensive draft. I'm talking no QB's, no OL's, just defense. We scored a decent number of points last year and even with switching quarterbacks every week. Look at the Ravens. They get pretty far with a lot of defense and a little O. That would shore up our D for years to come!
Kevin Seifert: Interesting. The only flaw is I think the Lions do need some work on the offensive line. They're not in shambles there, but the strength of the offensive tackles class means they should really take advantage to shore up that position. Otherwise, I agree the Lions have many more needs on defense than they do on offense.
Kevin Seifert: So, basically, the Lions would get Cutler and a second-round pick in exchange for moving down 12 spots in the first round. I think it's going to take more than that. Cutler has more of a pedigree than Cassel at this point.