A surprising team has the NFL’s best offseason


Ricky Wagner photo courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens

The Jacksonville Jaguars spent the most money, and the New England Patriots signed the biggest name – Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore – thus far in free agency.

But the team that has had the best offseason thus far plays in the NFC, according to the results of our weekly Talk of Fame Network poll. The Detroit Lions were the surprising winners of this poll with a whopping 50 percent of the vote, easily outdistancing the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots with 25 percent support.

No other team finished in double figures.

Blocking was a problem for the Lions a year ago when they finished 30th in the NFL rushing. So Detroit spent $76 million for a couple of new offensive linemen, tackle Ricky Wagner from Baltimore and incumbent Pro Bowler T.J. Lang from Green Bay. Detroit also signed two wide bodies for the defensive line, Cornelius Washington and Akeem Spence.

The Lions were a wild-card team a year ago. They are hoping bigger can make them better and a division champion this season.

All three of the Talk of Fame Network hosts – Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge – cast their votes for the Patriots, however.

“Of course the Patriots have had the best offseason,” Borges said. “It started in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.”

The Patriots signed Gilmore away from the Buffalo Bills, giving him $65 million for five years, with $40 million of it guaranteed. The Patriots also traded for two more offensive weapons for Tom Brady, wide receiver Brandin Cooks and tight end Dwayne Allen.

“The defense keeps (LB Dont’a) Hightower and adds a top-shelf corner in Gilmore plus a young pass rusher in Kony Ealy,” Judge said. “The offense adds first deep threat (Cooks) Tom Brady has had since Randy Moss, replaces Martellus Bennett with Dwayne Allen and makes a vastly underrated move to strengthen depth in the backfield with Rex Burkhead.

“The bottom line — the defending Super Bowl champs just got better. The rich get richer.”

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