Lions might get creative in offer to Hargrove

The Detroit Lions’ interest in New Orleans Saints restricted free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove is well established. Hargrove visited Detroit last month, and Lions coach Jim Schwartz said he thinks Hargrove could be an every-down player on the Lions’ defensive line.

But Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News notes a previously overlooked (at least by us) detail in the Lions’ pursuit of Hargrove: Hargrove’s agent, Philip Williams, was also the agent for Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew when Mayhew was an NFL player. And Twentyman writes that since the Saints would prefer to keep Hargrove, Mayhew and Williams might get creative in structuring an offer that the Saints wouldn’t match.

In other words, the Lions could put a poison pill in their offer to Hargrove that would make it difficult or impossible for the Saints to match, like making the contract fully guaranteed if he plays at least five games in Louisiana in 2010.

No team has used a poison pill since the Vikings and Seahawks did it to each other with the contracts of Steve Hutchinson and Nate Burleson four years ago. Mayhew doesn’t say the Lions will do it with Hargrove, but if they want to “get creative” in an effort to keep the Saints from matching their offer, a poison pill would be an effective way to do it.

And Mayhew does say his relationship with Hargrove’s agent is a big reason for his pursuit of Hargrove, a talented player who has had off-field problems including a one-year suspension for a third failed drug test.

“I probably wouldn’t even be in [discussions for Hargrove] if it wasn’t for my relationship with Phil,” Mayhew said. “We probably would have seen [Hargrove] as a talented guy, [but] there had been enough questions where we wouldn’t be at this point.”

The Lions are at least at the point where they’re considering signing Hargrove to an offer sheet. They have until April 15 to do it.

16 responses to “Lions might get creative in offer to Hargrove

  1. Would hate to see him go, I like his motor. That said, the second pick of the third round for a three strike offender looks like nice compensation considering the Saints’ signed him off the street.

  2. @KeliFulton (WDSU)
    Source: DT Anthony Hargrove will sign tender offer tomorrow. Deal is worth 1yr/1.2M.

  3. so whats the plan?…offer a screwball contract at the last minute that the saints wont match?

  4. Great Move by the Lions! They are being smart this offseason and actually signing good talent. Keep it up Detroit and you might get in the playoffs sometime soon.

  5. I’m pretty sure no matter when the Lions offer the contract the Saints still have a week.
    I would say we should get them back by going after one of their RFA’s, but it’s the Lions.

  6. Why wouldn’t every team who wants to sign away a RFA place a “poison pill” in the offer sheet?

  7. Sje, its a quid pro quo type situation. The owners don’t want retaliation and don’t want to screw each other. The players union wants the poison pill as a viable option but the owners don’t.

  8. Just one more example of how the free agency compensation rules suck. The Bills traded with the Rams to get Hargrove and he briefly played well, but substance abuse took him away from the Bills. When the Saints signed Hargrove, they paid nothing and the Bills got nothing. Now if Detroit signs Hargrove, the defending Super Bowl champs get the #66 pick in the draft as compensation.
    Last year the Saints also took Jabari Greer from the Bills, when they gave him a contract for almost $ 6 million per year. Of course the Bills got no compensatory draft picks for Greer and Hargrove, because they signed two lesser players.
    The Bills also got no compensatory picks last year, because two players they lost to the Patriots did not count as losses for the Bills (contracts not large enough) or as additions for the Patriots, who got three compensatory picks last year (and four more this year). The rich get richer!

  9. 1 year 1.2 million? I wouldn’t think the Lions would give up an early 3rd rounder for a guy unless they were offering him a longer-term deal than 1 year.
    With those terms, the Saints should match barring a poison pill. If there is a poison pill, the consolation prize of an early 3rd rounder in exchange for Hargrove is nothing to sneeze at.

  10. Sje, its sort of a gentlemens agreement. Teams don’t frequently do this because they don’t want the same thing happening to them. When a team spots an opportunity to make it happen though, they rarely don’t follow through with it.
    Number 1, the Lions are trying to get better, they could care less what the Saints think about it.
    Number 2, the Lions don’t have any RFA’s that are worth a damn, and Mayhew is smart enough to lengthen out deals of good players before teams have a chance to pull off this kind of deal.

  11. How about doing some research? Hargrove has already signed his tender with New Orleans.

  12. # Deegizzle says: April 4, 2010 7:43 AM
    How about doing some research? Hargrove has already signed his tender with New Orleans.
    If you have some proof go ahead and link to it please. I read the same thing on saintsreport 5 days ago saying that he’d sign his tender on 4-1-10 and that date looks pretty suspect to me even though the report was from a local reporter.

  13. # Deegizzle says: April 4, 2010 7:43 AM
    How about doing some research? Hargrove has already signed his tender with New Orleans.
    He has not signed his offer sheet with NO.

  14. The NFC North should be pretty dangerous this year.. The Lions and the Bears are both reloading, and the Vikes and the Pack are pretty much set. Should be an interesting year

  15. I’m not sure how I feel about this one… I’m not sure that this dude is worth giving up the 2nd pick in the 3rd round for… Maybe we can possibly work out a trade involving a lower round pick now that Hargrove has signed his tender.

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