The Detroit Lions roster has made some drastic changes so far during the free-agency period. Here are the Lions’ key moves thus far.
The Lions follow up last year’s big free-agent acquisition of Reggie Bush by landing another big-name talent in Golden Tate. Tate and the Lions agreed to a five-year deal worth $31 million, $13.25 million in guaranteed money. Locking up a big-time receiver to line up opposite of Calvin Johnson was one of Detroit’s primary needs this offseason. In 2013, Tate caught 68 passes, for 898 yards, and scored five touchdowns. He also has the ability to line up in the slot.
The Lions continued to address some areas of concern by signing defensive end Darryl Tapp to a one-year deal on Thursday. The terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed but Tapp’s cap-hit was a mere $586,000 last season with the Washington Redskins. Although he may not be a starting-caliber player, Tapp adds a great deal of experience to the Lions’ young defensive end rotation.
Another move to add depth to the Lions’ defensive line, Detroit has (unofficially) signed defensive tackle Vaughn Martin to a (likely) veteran-minimum contract. The deal is unofficial but Martin’s agent has said that a deal has been agreed upon. Martin was let go from the Miami Dolphins following hernia surgery, but it’s expected that he has made a full recovery and looks to become the final defensive tackle on the depth chart.
Detroit re-signed Pettigrew on Friday, giving the tight end a four-year deal worth $16 million. Pettigrew’s numbers were not as impressive in 2013 as they had been the previous two seasons, but he has established himself as one of the best blocking-tight ends in the NFL.
Following a break-out season in 2013, Bell officially signed a three-year deal worth $9.3 million. Bell proved he has what it takes to play in the NFL last season, gaining 1,197 yards from scrimmage as a solid complimentary-back to Reggie Bush.
The Chicago Bears signed defensive end Willie Young to a three-year, $9 million contract. Although Young had developed into a solid defensive end, the likelihood that he would have returned to Detroit was not promising. For now, his replacement looks to be addressed in-house.
After Detroit was unable to bring back Louis Delmas at a reduced rate, the safety was signed to a one-year deal by the Miami Dolphins. Delmas’ deal with the Dolphins has the potential to be worth $3.5 million.
The Lions still have $2-$3 million worth in cap-space to address other areas of concern. (Justin Rogers breaks it down.) Former Baltimore Ravens safety James Ihedigbo has already visited with Detroit and it looks like a deal could be signed in the near future.