Dec 18, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch (55) warms up before the game against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. Detroit defeated Oakland 28-27. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Detroit Lions Keeping Options Open at Linebacker

By all accounts, Stephen Tulloch remains a priority for the Detroit Lions. However, that doesn’t mean they will be willing to pay more than they’d like to keep him. Tulloch is reportedly looking for at least $6 million per year, a nice raise from the $3.25 million he played for last year.

The linebacker position has been one of the slowest developing markets in this year’s free agency period. The players are looking for big deals while the teams are reluctant to meet those demands. D’Qwell Jackson‘s deal with the Browns (5 years, $42.5 million; $19 million guaranteed) is being held as the gold standard by players looking for new deals but that doesn’t mean others will get the same if other teams believe the Browns overpaid to keep Jackson.

The only other coveted linebacker to sign so far has been Dan Connor who received a two-year deal from the Dallas Cowboys. He’ll get $6.5 million over the next two years – the same average salary Tulloch played for last year. Connor ranks second on Rotoworld’s rankings of free agent linebackers while Tulloch ranks sixth.

The Lions are moving forward with a contingency plan if money becomes a brick wall in preventing Tulloch from returning to Detroit. Their interest in David Hawthorne was reported when free agency opened last week and now he is scheduled to meet with the team on Tuesday.

Hawthorne previously met with the Saints who have also shown interest in Curtis Lofton. The linebacker market may have been slow to develop but both teams and players should be starting to get a pretty good idea where things stand. All that remains to be seen is which side gives in to the demands of the other first.

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Tags: David Hawthorne Detroit Lions Stephen Tulloch

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