Much like the Dolphins did last year with top pick Jake Long, the Lions supposedly want to have their first pick in the draft already signed before making a selection. This makes a lot of sense because teams want to avoid contract holdouts during training camp, especially bad teams that need their top players on the field. Well it came out last week that the Lions had already begun negotiations with the agents of three players — Matthew Stafford, Jason Smith, and Aaron Curry. Here’s the catch: both Stafford of Georgia and Baylor OT Jason Smith are represented by the same agents — Tom Condon and Ben Dogra of CAA.
If the Lions were trying to decide between the top three guys on their board, price and ease of negotiations could be a critical factor. Unfortunately for Detroit, the luxury of bargaining is lost since CAA is holding two of the top three cards. Now one can argue that the pay scale for draftees is already set by the slotting system (the higher you’re picked the more you make), but contracts vary by position. Knowing what the Lions are willing to pay for Stafford (or Smith) will help the negotiations for the other player, and vice versa. Detroit won’t be able to play any hard ball. Their only leverage for now is Aaron Curry, and from the sounds of things, going with him would be the best option of all.
Incidentally, the Dogra/Condon combination also represented the first and third overall pick in last year’s draft, Jake Long and Matt Ryan. The only difference is the Dolphins weren’t too interested in Ryan whereas the Lions could go in any direction for all we know.