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Free Agency Focus: Stephen Tulloch

Picture Courtesy of the Stephen Tulloch Foundation

I know this is jumping the gun some, but I decided to start looking at players the Lions may target once we get a new CBA and free agency begins.  Since we don’t know whether or not it will take four years or six years to become an unrestricted free agent, some of the players may not actually be free agents.  From everything I have read on the CBA negotiations, I expect that the league will return to four years (five years max) until unrestricted free agency.

I believe the Lions’ number one priority in free agency is Stephen Tulloch.  He fits a huge need, he is familiar with the coaching staff and the system and he is a veteran player that is still young enough to be a key building block.

Tulloch is one of the better 4-3 middle linebackers in the league due to his great speed and instincts, so it’s only natural to assume that if the Lions sign him he will play inside.  I don’t think that’s set in stone though.  DeAndre Levy has been a great fit at middle linebacker and the coaches are comfortable with him manning the middle.  Combine that with Levy’s height (6-2 vs Tulloch’s 5-11) and ability to add more pounds to his frame and I think it’s just as likely that Levy would stay inside and Tulloch would play outside.

Tulloch is a tackling machine and is solid in coverage but he leaves a lot to be desired as far as big plays are concerned.  Tulloch has only logged 4.5 sacks, 2 interceptions and 5 fumbles recovered in his five year career.  To put that in perspective, Levy has 3 interceptions, a forced fumble and 4 fumble recoveries in two seasons.  So despite the fanfare, Tulloch does have areas of his game that need improvement before he can be considered a truly elite player.

All things considered, I fully expect the Lions to pursue Tulloch and for the interest to be mutual.  The only obstacles are whether or not he is an unrestricted free agent and if the Titans would use the franchise tag on him.  Otherwise, there’s as good as chance as any that Stephen Tulloch will swap his powder blue uniform for the Honolulu Blue once free agency begins.

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One Response to “Free Agency Focus: Stephen Tulloch”

  1. […] closer to football resuming, I wanted to resume my free agency focus list.  First on the list was Stephen Tulloch, next up is Chris […]

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