According to our sources, the Lions should not be considered the favorites to land free-agent S Oshiomogho Atogwe because his price tag appears too high. But as teams slowly bow out of the competition, the Lions could become more interested in his services.
The word is that Atogwe is asking for front-line safety money right now, which the Lions will not pay. It's also one reason why he and the Rams have not come to an accord yet. And though the Rams remain the favorites to keep Atogwe, the Lions will hang around and monitor the situation.
One reason is that they have a major hole at safety next to Louis Delmas, and he and Atogwe have the potential to make a great playmaking duo if Atogwe's rehabbed fully from shoulder and hernia injuries. And the Lions have shown a willingness to spend money on defense in this uncapped season, signing DE Kyle Vanden Bosch and drafting DT Ndamukong Suh, who will command major money as the No. 2 overall pick, but the team is policing itself in terms of money spent and likely won't do much beyond this point.
The team also has been connected to LB Keith Bulluck, who is coming off ACL surgery. Head coach Jim Schwartz and Bulluck go back a decade with the Titans, and there is genuine interest, but it would be hard to imagine the Lions going after both Bulluck and Atogwe. There are some who believe that the Lions' preference in signing Bulluck would be tantamount to the one-year deal they gave to Larry Foote a year ago, but Bulluck likely would want a second year added to any contract he signs.
The greater need might be at linebacker, but Atogwe appears the better player right now. Could the Lions extend their self-imposed budget and go after Atogwe, a Detroit-area native who grew up a fan of the team? Not until his salary demands wane some.
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