NFL Free Agency: Detroit Lions Should Let Shaun Hill Go, Promote Kellen Moore


Aug 29, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Detroit Lions tackle Riley Reiff (71) blocks Buffalo Bills linebacker Jamaal Westerman (93) as quarterback Shaun Hill (14) passes during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Lions beat the Bills 35-13. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

According to Sportrac, a website that tracks player contracts, the Detroit Lions have $11,146,130 dollars in cap space. The available cap space for 2014 does not include contracts for QB Shaun Hill and Brandon Pettigrew, two Detroit Lions free agents expected to command a high price on the free agent market.  If the Lions were to resign Pettigrew and Shaun Hill they would only have about $1 million left to work with. That does not leave a whole lot of cash for shopping when free agency starts on Tuesday.

Sure more cap space can be created by renegotiating a contract extension for Ndamukong Suh. However, barring an 11th hour deal such an extension is not likely to happen before the start of free agency.  So the Lions have to figure that they will have just over $11 million to spend on resigning their current players and plugging holes in the defense.

It appears the Lions have already decided to let Brandon Pettigrew test the free agent market but no such decision has been reached regarding the Lions long-time back-up Shaun Hill.

On March 11th, back-up quarterback Shaun Hill is scheduled to hit the free agent market. during his four years in Detroit, Hill has shown flashes of starting quarterback ability in relief of Matt Stafford. It is because of that Hill is regarded by most as the best back-up QB in the NFL. With so many teams in needed of a starting QB much less a back-up, Hill should experience a healthy level of interest when the clock strikes 12:01 am on the Tuesday.

Hill is finishing a 2 year contract that paid him and an average of $2.75 million a year.  Based on his track record and the perception of his ability, Hill looks to command nearly double that this season. So is it worth it for the Lions to commit roughly half their cap space on a back-up quarterback with so many needs to fill?

Simply put….NO.

Especially considering the Lions have a more than capable (and younger) replacement for Hill already on the roster….and at a fraction of the cost.

24-year-old Kellen Moore makes $486,667 a year. During the 2013 preseason he seemed to put it together when he completed 62% of his passes while throwing four touchdowns for a QB rating of 99.4. His best game was against the New England Patriots completing 9 of 12 for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Are these numbers worthy of a starting quarterback?  No but they are more than respectable for a back-up.

The Lions would do themselves a big favor letting Shaun Hill go and finally give Kellen Moore a chance to prove he can play in the league. It would save the club some valuable cap space and further the development of potential starting quarterback. And who couldn’t use another one of those?