|03-02-2007, 04:47 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Trade brings Denver a bounty in Bly
Lions receive Tatum Bell, Foster, fifth-round choice; Broncos get sixth-rounder
By Lee Rasizer, Rocky Mountain News
March 2, 2007
John Lynch had an inkling something was cooking in his team's front office.
Last week, the Broncos safety received a call from Detroit Lions assistant general manager Martin Mayhew. Lynch and Mayhew were former teammates in the mid-1990s with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mayhew wanted Lynch to give a scouting report on two Broncos players - running back Tatum Bell and right tackle George Foster.
"He said, 'I can't get into specifics, but we're talking about a trade,' " Lynch said. "And he asked, 'What about George and Tatum?' "
That conversation eventually morphed Thursday into the first splashy trade of the offseason, with Foster and Bell headed to the Lions in exchange for two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Dré Bly. The deal won't become official until today, the first day of the NFL's new calendar year.
As part of the trade, the Broncos also will receive a sixth- round draft pick and will send the Lions a fifth-round pick.
The acquisition fills one of the biggest needs the Broncos had heading into the offseason, given the shooting death of starting right cornerback Darrent Williams on New Year's Day. And in a thin cornerback market in free agency outside Buffalo's Nate Clements, who's expected to command top dollar, Bly represents a shrewd move, particularly given the anticipated reduced roles for Foster and Bell next season.
Broncos coach Mike Shanahan last month anointed Domonique Foxworth as Williams' replacement at right cornerback, but there had been some whispers about whether the two-year veteran was ready to handle a full-time role.
He won't have that pressure now, with Bly expected to be paired with Champ Bailey and Foxworth retaining his role in the nickel defense.
That combination gives the Broncos a top-flight trio to match up with the league's top spread offenses. Karl Paymah, a 2005 third-round pick, also made strides in a dime-back role last season for the Broncos and adds depth to the group.
"You can't have enough good corners in this league, and Dré has certainly proven himself as that," Lynch said. "He's a ballhawking corner who's made a lot of plays in his career.
"We used to play them quite a bit when he was with the (St. Louis) Rams and I was with the Bucs, and he always seemed to make a tough play. He makes us pretty strong at corner right now."
Bly, who will be 30 on May 22, was scheduled to make a $4.2 million base salary with the Lions in the final year of a deal he signed as an unrestricted free agent in 2003. The Broncos likely will try to work out a contract extension, but Bly could opt to play out the deal in order to play closer to his Chesapeake, Va., hometown in the future.
The Washington Redskins were one of the teams vying for his services this week, but like the New Orleans Saints, they lacked the proper ammunition to pull off the deal.
"It's a good trade," said Broncos defensive tackle Michael Myers, who was set to hit the open market Thursday night. "I've played against Dré. He's a good cover corner."
In four seasons each with the Lions and Rams, Bly has produced 33 career interceptions. He went to the Pro Bowl in the 2003 and 2004 seasons and was a first alternate in the 2005 seasons, but his play slipped last season. Bly, a team captain in Detroit, reportedly was uncomfortable in the two-deep zone installed by new Lions coach Rod Marinelli.
But Lynch suggested a change of scenery might help Bly and said Jim Bates, the Broncos' new assistant head coach/defense, will "mold the two philosophies together" in terms of man and zone coverages to come up with a workable mix.
Having Bailey and Bly also could allow the Broncos to expand their blitz package. The Broncos still need to shore up their pass rush to complement the revised secondary. And now they'll surely be searching for a full-time running back.
Bell, who turns 26 today, has shown flashes of speed and big-play ability during his three seasons with the Broncos. He led the team last season with 1,025 rushing yards.
But he wasn't able to get a firm grasp on the starting job, despite improving his ability to run inside the tackles over time. He was near the top of the AFC rushing list when he suffered a turf toe injury in October and had most of his midseason wiped out. He fumbled in each of the last three games, drawing the ire of the coaching staff, which also believed Bell was less explosive in a full-time role.
He'll get an opportunity to start in Detroit, particularly if Kevin Jones' recovery from a foot injury prevents him from returning at the start of next season. Bell leaves the Broncos having rushed for 2,342 yards and 13 touchdowns.
The Broncos are left with a gaping hole at running back that will be filled with a trade, the draft or free agency. Mike Bell, who just completed a productive rookie season, is an effort runner but lacks the breakaway speed the Broncos desire. Damien Nash, who died suddenly Saturday, was the only other Broncos running back with more than three carries last season.
With Foster's departure, the Broncos are left with zero players remaining from the 2003 draft.
As a first-rounder, Foster led a group of 10 selections. He started 45 of 49 games in which he appeared but struggled last season, and in the long run, he might have been miscast in the Broncos' system.
At 6-foot-5, 338 pounds, he has good size, but at times he played heavy-legged in a scheme that emphasizes footwork and quickness. Still, he's a strong drive-blocker and should get a chance to start with the Lions.
"I think it's a great chance for George," said Foster's agent, Phil Williams. "He can start anew, and I know he expects to take advantage of it. He's just very excited."
Foster likely will be replaced by Erik Pears, who filled in at left tackle last season but probably is better suited for the right side, or by veteran Adam Meadows.
• Position: Tackle.
• Height: 6-foot-5.
• Weight: 338 pounds.
• College: Georgia.
• Notable: Entering his fifth season in 2007. . . . Has one year remaining on his contract. . . . Broncos' first-round pick in the 2003 draft (No. 20 overall). . . . Dropped on some teams' boards that year because he had dislocated his right wrist in a car accident in August 2002, just before his senior season. . . . A four-year starter for the Broncos. . . . Played in 49 games in the regular season, starting 45. . . . Broncos coach Mike Shanahan consistently had said Foster had "Pro Bowl talent," but the team had become frustrated with his consistency and benched Foster at times in the 2005 and 2006 seasons. In 2005, he split some time with Cornell Green; in 2006, it appeared he had lost the job to Adam Meadows, but Meadows suffered a hamstring injury and Foster returned to the lineup. He started 13 games last season.
• Position: Running back.
• Height: 5-foot-11.
• Weight: 213 pounds.
• College: Oklahoma State.
• Notable: Entering his fourth season in 2007. . . . One one year remaining on his contract. . . . The Broncos' first of two second-round picks in the 2004 draft (No. 41 overall; pick was acquired from Washington in the trade for Champ Bailey). . . . The fastest running back timed at the 2004 scouting combine, with a 4.37-second effort for 40 yards. . . . Finished with 1,025 rushing yards in 2006 - it was his first 1,000-yard season - a total that included five 100-yard games. . . . Appointed the starter in 2006 for the first time in his career but ended up splitting carries after injuring a toe and missing three games. Made 13 of 14 career starts in 2006. . . . Big-play threat who averaged 4.9 yards per carry with the Broncos. . . . Battled a variety of injuries during his three seasons. . . . Lost a career-high five fumbles in 2006 after losing only two combined in his first two seasons with the Broncos.
Last edited by dragondawg; 03-02-2007 at 05:33 AM..
|03-02-2007, 04:54 AM||#2|
Anybody want a peanut?
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ceti Alpha V
|03-02-2007, 05:21 AM||#3|
helmet to helmet hitter
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Arlington, TX
|03-02-2007, 05:37 AM||#4|
1st Amendment Protection
Join Date: May 2005
Location: St. Petersburg Russia
Lynch fleeced em!
Also Myers is giving so many quotes to Denver media like crazy. I think he wants to stick around. I still find it funny BBT hasn't given him an at least a chat.
|03-02-2007, 06:13 AM||#5|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Jul 2002
"Happy Birthday Tatum, you're a Detroit Lion and get to work for Matt Millen!"
|03-02-2007, 08:29 AM||#7|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Mar 2006
|03-02-2007, 09:10 AM||#8|
Join Date: Aug 2001
I love this trade. Me thinks Lynch is getting ready for a front office career after his playing days are done ...
Bell -with all his speed will enjoy the turf, so I wish him well.
Foster- I would have chipped in to pay for his one-way bus ticket this season
the trade 5th for a 6th.... you know what this means..... we're going to find a gem at RB this year
|03-02-2007, 11:42 AM||#9|
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: West side of Michigan
Living in Michigan, I am listening to all the sports radio here regarding the trade. It is hilarious. All of the sudden, everyone is so happy to have the cancer Dre Bly out of here. What? He has played 4 years for the Lions, and this is the first I have heard of it. What a joke. Also, Foster is now penciled in as a starting tackle,so there is no need to draft Joe Thomas. They have Jeff Backus and now George Foster as their starting tackles?
I can't wait to see Tater break a 40 yard td in his first preseason game and all of the sudden he is the second coming of Barry Sanders (they went to the same school). I wonder what they will think when he bounces the rock of the carpet at Ford Field on a consistent basis.
Lions fans are the dumbest fans in all of sports; them and Charger fans.