Phoenix — The Detroit Lions really liked running back Malcolm Brown, but the contract the team offered the restricted free agent wasn't enough to scare away the Los Angeles Rams from matching.
It wasn't for a lack of effort.
"It's something that's a roll of the dice, honestly, because you don't know if they're going to match or not," Lions general manger Bob Quinn said Monday at the league meetings. "You try to structure a deal that might be hard for them to do, but you really don't know. Because you might think you know their situation looking at a piece of paper, but they have other things going on behind the scenes they can move around.
"So we took a shot at it, it didn't work out."
Unlike the Lions, the Rams aren't working with nearly as much cap space this offseason. According to the latest public reports from the NFLPA, the Lions have more than $27 million, while the Rams are sitting closer to $7 million.
The Lions offered Brown, 25, a two-year deal, worth $3.25 million with $1 million guaranteed.
"He's really the type of player that we were interested in adding to the running back room," Quinn said. "Thought he was young, thought he was — at that cost we tried to get him for — was very reasonable for what we can fit into our budget at that spot."
Brown was averaging a career-best 4.8 yards per carry last season, before suffering a season-ending clavicle injury. He was also an important contributor on special teams for the Rams, averaging more than 10 snaps per game with those units.
After losing out on Brown, the Lions' backfield looks similar to the group from last year, sans LeGarrette Blount, who remains a free agent. The team returns Kerryon Johnson, Zach Zenner and Theo Riddick and could look to bolster that rotation via the draft.