Kyle Vanden Bosch’s stay on the free agent market was a short one, as the defensive end agreed to a deal with the Detroit Lions, just hours after Lions head coach Jim Schwartz arrived at his Nashville area home at the start of the free agency period.
Vanden Bosch agreed to a four-year contract with the Lions on Friday morning worth $26 million with $10 million of that coming in 2010. His agent Tony Agnone confirmed to The City Paper that the agreement had been reached between the Lions and his client.
"Kyle has loved every minute in Nashville," Agnone said, "and thanks the fans for their support. He is looking forward to the new challenge in Detroit."
Vanden Bosch will be joining a Lions team that Schwartz is charged with rebuilding. Detroit went 2-14 last season after going winless in 2008, the year before Schwartz arrived. The Lions have the second overall pick in the 2010 draft.
Vanden Bosch said in a radio interview on WGFX-FM 104.5 The Zone on Friday morning that Schwartz's interest in him and salesmanship helped to seal the deal in Detroit.
"It was a strange deal. I was talking with my agent back and forth all day trying to figure out what to expect," Vanden Bosch said. "Then 11 o'clock came, and my phone rang. It was Coach Schwartz. He said, 'I'm down at your gate, and I want to come talk to you.'
"Coach Schwartz, my wife and I were up talking till about 2:30 - talking about the city of Detroit, the team, the scheme, their plans, their personnel and where we're heading, and I got excited. Coach Schwartz, he's a great coach, and last night he was a good salesman."
Vanden Bosch, 31, made three Pro Bowls in five seasons as a Tennessee Titan, and Schwartz was quite familiar with his abilities and work habits, having been Tennessee’s defensive coordinator for four of those years before accepting the Lions head coaching position before last year.
Vanden Bosch had three sacks for the Titans last year, and is the first of Tennessee’s eight unrestricted free agents to land elsewhere. During his five seasons in Tennessee, Vanden Bosch totaled 38.5 of his 43.5 career sacks.
But as much as his on-field performance, the Lions are also banking on Vanden Bosch bringing his highly intense work ethic and leadership skills to a young Detroit team that is in the midst of a full-fledged rebuilding project, although Vanden Bosch said Schwartz's primary reason for signing him was that the Lions believe he can still play at a high level after watching him on tape last season.
"He said we're bringing you in to be a big-time player. We're not just bringing you in to be an assistant coach or teach some young players the ropes," Vanden Bosch said of Schwartz's sales pitch.
The decision was probably made easier by the fact that Vanden Bosch garnered no serious interest from the Titans leading up to free agency, as the two sides went months without discussing an extension. Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt finally contacted Agnone just over a week before free agency, but no talks materialized, and the Titans never got back in touch as their exclusive negotiating deadline expired.