With the NFL season winding down, it’s time to look at which Lions players will become free agents in the off-season. Note: this is an unofficial list – the official list will be released by the NFL after the Super Bowl.
Unrestricted Free Agents:
QB Shaun Hill
QB Drew Stanton
RB Kevin Smith
RB Maurice Morris
WR Maurice Stovall
WR Rashied Davis
OT Jeff Backus
OG Leonard Davis
DE Cliff Avril
DT Andre Fluellen
LB Stephen Tulloch
LB Bobby Carpenter
LB Isaiah Ekijuba
CB Eric Wright
CB Brandon McDonald
S Chris Harris
P Ben Graham
Restricted Free Agents:
LB DeAndre Levy
OT Corey Hilliard
DT Sammie Lee Hill
LB Ashlee Palmer
Based on what happened during the just-completed regular season, the key players for the Lions to resign in the off-season – in order of importance, in my opinion – are: Tulloch, Backus, Wright, Avril and Levy.
In case you’re curious, here’s an unofficial list some of the more interesting unrestricted free agents that will be available in free agency this year, barring resigning or getting franchise tagged by their respective teams.
QB: Drew Brees, Kyle Orton, Chad Henne, Charlie Batch, Dan Orlovsky and Jeff Garcia.
RB: Ray Rice, Matt Forte, Michael Bush, Marshawn Lynch, Cedric Benson, Jason Snelling, Ryan Grant, Earnest Graham and Thomas Jones.
WR: Vincent Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Marques Colston, DeSean Jackson, Stevie Johnson, Robert Meachum, Mario Manningham, Braylon Edwards, Ted Ginn, Plaxico Burress, Roscoe Parrish, Jerrico Cotchery, Donte’ Stallworth, Legedu Naanee, Terrell Owens, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Roy Williams.
TE: Jermichael Finley, Kellen Davis, Visanthe Shiancoe and Jeremy Shockey.
OL: Carl Nicks, Jared Gaither, Ben Grubbs, Samson Satele, Max Starks, Jeff Saturday and Andre Gurode.
[Note: if you couldn't tell, it's not a good year - unless you want the Pro Bowler Nicks - to get a free agent offensive lineman....]
DL: Mario Williams, Calais Campbell, Sione Pouha, Broderick Bunkley, Andre Carter, Cory Redding, Isreal Idonije, Shaun Rogers, Anthony Hargrove, Amobi Okoye, Jason Hunter and Turk McBride.
LB: Kirk Morrison, Ben Leber, Curtis Lofton, D’Qwell Jackson, London Fletcher, Ahmad Brooks, Mario Haggan and Ernie Sims.
CB: Carlos Rogers, Brent Grimes, Cortland Finnegan, Rashean Mathis, Aaron Ross and Tracy Porter.
S: LaRon Landry, Jarrad Page, Lito Sheppard, Tyvon Branch, Jim Leonhard, Brandon Meriweather, Sean Jones, Jordan Babineaux, Jon McGraw and C.C. Brown.
K: Matt Prater, Neil Rackers, Jay Feely, Josh Scobee and Dave Rayner.
P: Mat McBriar, Dave Zastudil and Nick Harris
Restricted Free Agents of note: WR Mike Wallace, RB Arian Foster, WR Adrian Arrington and QB Brian Hoyer.