With over half their roster set to become free agents of one variety or another, the Detroit Lions are in for a busy offseason. They came to terms on extensions with linebacker Ashlee Palmer and safety Don Carey earlier this month but that leaves them with the following:
23 players set to become unrestricted free agents: Cliff Avril, Gosder Cherilus, Louis Delmas, Justin Durant, Drayton Florence, Andre Fluellen, Dylan Gandy, Jason Hanson, Nick Harris, Jerome Harrison, Will Heller, Sammie Hill, Corey Hilliard, Chris Houston, Lawrence Jackson, Jacob Lacey, Pat Lee, DeAndre Levy, Stefan Logan, Don Muhlbach, Kassim Osgood, Kevin Smith and Corey Williams
The Lions are certain to negotiate with a number of their big free agents but they do not appear willing to go so far as to slap one of them with the franchise tag. According to a tweet from NFL.com’s Albert Breer citing a memo circulated to agents, teams can start applying the franchise tag on February 18 with a deadline set for March 4. The new league year is set to begin on March 12, and that means the opening of the free agency period for teams to negotiate with free agents from around the league.
Breer is also reporting what it will take to tie restricted free agents to compensation should they sign with another team:
And here are the tenders for RFAs … High tender is $2.879M (1st-Rd comp); Next is $2.023M (2nd-Rd comp); Then $1.323M (original draft rd).
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 15, 2013
All three of the Lions’ restricted free agents figure to be tendered contracts by the team unless the Lions are overly concerned about Spievey’s concussion history.