Drew Sharp is one of the longest tenured and most read columnists in the Detroit Free Press’ Sports Department. He has also been a print version of what most in the digital age refer to as a “troll.”
Drew Sharp has been trolling the Detroit sports landscape since before internet readership killed off print newspapers and well before Twitter gave a name to the person that will argue that the unpopular opinion is the correct one until you give up.
In his latest installment of shock for the sake of clicks, Sharp takes the point of view that the Lions recent trade to fill the enormous hole left by Ndomukong Suh for equally enormous Haloti Ngata was proof that the Lions front office doesn’t know what they are doing.
While I don’t disagree that the Lions front office still seems inept compared to the front offices of most other NFL teams, picking this trade as proof is off base.
The trade for Haloti Ngata was forced as the Lions defense that ranked near the top of the NFL last year, is contingent on having a playmaker/run stuffer at Defensive Tackle and that is what the 7 time Pro Bowl Ngata is.
The position the Lions are in with salary cap restraints is due to Matt Millen and his horrible teams of the mid ’00s that resulted in many wasted draft picks and repeated top 5 picks when there was no salary scale for top NFL draft picks. Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson & Suh were all way overpaid from the start of their career, forcing the Lions to constantly kick the can down the road with their contract structure just to remain competitive and that eventually came back to bite them in the ass.
Everyone can agree on that, but it was Millen that is the root cause of the issue. What Mayhew is trying to do now is to provide Jim Caldwell & Teryl Austin with the pieces to keep the defense at the top of the NFL and hope that the recent draft picks on offense pan out for the team (*cough* Eric Ebron *cough*).
Sharp argues that the most successful NFL teams stock pile mid round picks and get value out of them instead of “wasting them” on veterans. Well, the Lions have seen few mid round picks contribute to the team. A 5th round pick in 2013, Punter Sam Martin & 2012 5th round pick Tahir Whitehead, outside of that there has been almost no production, save for a few plays from 2013 4th round pick Theo Riddick.
Busts like Sammie Hill, Aaron Brown, Ronnell Lewis, Jason Fox and Doug Hogue are proof of that.
So, even if the Lions were to have saved those picks, instead of trading them for a known commodity that can help a win now team to WIN NOW, there is a good chance they wouldn’t use them wisely.
If the Lions were able to strike gold with a pick and find another Whitehead, a LB that has developed into a starter, it will still take 2-3 years for that to happen, which the Lions don’t have at this point.
The other point that Sharp attempts to make is how the Ravens are a prime example of how to manage the salary cap, pointing to a restructuring from star defensive end Terrell Suggs and the trade of Ngata as examples. Something he overlooks is that THE RAVENS HAD TO TRADE NGATA BECAUSE THEY WERE IN A SALARY CAP CRUNCH.
The exact point that he was trying to prove is the opposite of what is happening in Baltimore. The Ravens restructured Suggs, much like the Lions restructured Suh, Johnson, Stafford many times over, they have cut Reggie Bush & Nate Burleson, veterans that were not living up to expectations to gain cap room.
Drew Sharp has driven me to the point of defending Martin Mayhew, who I believe should not be the GM of this team. That is what a troll will do, make you change your stance and point because they are so outrageous.
Sharp gets paid based on his readership, which is clicks, shares on Facebook and Twitter, comments on his articles, emails he gets in response to his articles. He knows this, good or bad, hate click or not, its all the same, so he goes for the easy, troll article to upset a fan base, the “You aren’t going to believe how stupid this story is” angle for clicks.
So next time you’re tempted to click, share or read a Drew Sharp article, don’t. Remember, this is the man that as a 2015 AP NCAA Football voter, routinely voted Michigan State, the eventual #5 team in the country, OUTSIDE THE TOP 25. When the Spartans were ranked 12 or 13, Sharp was not voting for them.
Drew Sharp is the same writer that said if Mike Babcock did not get the Red Wings into the playoffs in 2014 HE SHOULD BE FIRED. This is the same Mike Babcock the entire NHL is after, most teams would fire their current coach for him.
Remember those things the next time you’re about to click. And don’t.