Across the internet on Tuesday in various comment sections, the frustration was palpable.
"This is a terrible move! Dominic Raiola should go! My day is ruined!"
All the Detroit Lions did was restructure (operative word) center Raiola's contract for next season. By the reaction, you'd think the team had just rehired Matt Millen to be a special advisor because Raiola wasn't publicly humiliated, drawn and quartered or at least released.
So, I have a question for all the angry fans out there that are apparently puzzled by this move: who was going to replace Raiola next year at center, and at what cost? Surely, you didn't want a rookie occupying the center position when you'll already be breaking in a new right guard and perhaps new tackles, did you? Talk about a major work in progress.
Though he's certainly getting older, Raiola is the most steady option the Lions had for 2013. He's outspoken, but he's also an excellent teammate, willing to do whatever it takes to win, including restructuring his contract. The Lions know this, and as a result, the plan was likely never to release Raiola though it was widely rumored.
Center is too valuable a position to the Lions next year. Replacing Stephen Peterman was a must, considering his terrible play last season. When Matthew Stafford was getting bull rushed in 2012, more often than not, it was mostly his fault. Across the line, new young players will be entering, making the continuity between Stafford and Raiola vital to offensive success.
With so many other pressing holes, the Lions weren't going to pop for a free agent on the open market, nor hand the keys to the middle of the offensive line over to a rookie or untested Bill Nagy. Whether or not you like Raiola as a person is irrelevant; the fact of the matter is that he still gets the job done at a decent level. And now that he restructured his contract, he's more affordable for the team..
What's wrong with that? Outside tweaks on the offensive line at the spots previously mentioned, the Lions likely want to devote all their resources to defense. That's a defense, lest we forget, that ranked 10th worst in the NFC in total defense last season.
Clearly, there are more important roster positions to consider than releasing Raiola at the center spot.
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