It comes as no surprise that Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew was asked about Brandon Pettigrew during his session with local media this morning. It isn’t even a surprise that the Lions are interested in brining Pettigrew back. What is a surprise, is that they haven’t ruled out using the franchise tag to do so.
Mayhew wouldn't rule out using the franchise tag, said he wants to get a deal done to bring back Brandon Pettigrew
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) February 21, 2014
At around $6.7 million, the franchise tag looked to be an overly expensive way to retain an inconsistent player. Would the Lions really franchise Pettigrew?
The Lions will meet with Pettigrew’s representatives at the combine to start discussing what it will take to reach a new deal. Even if Mayhew has no intentions of using the franchise tag on Pettigrew, publicly stating he hasn’t ruled it out is a more respectful way to go into negotiations than to essentially tell the world Pettigrew isn’t worth the money – even if we all know it.
Further, the threat of a franchise tag gives the Lions a little more bargaining power as it would lock Pettigrew in to a one-year deal instead of allowing him get a long-term deal this offseason. That doesn’t strike me as a small point for a player who already has one major knee injury during his NFL career – even if that one year comes with an inflated price tag.