By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – After looking elsewhere, free agent tight end Brandon Pettigrew has agreed to stay in Detroit for the next four years, reportedly for $16 million with $8 million guaranteed.
The New York Jets and Oakland Raiders were also reported to have interest in Pettigrew, whom Detroit drafted in 2009.
Last season Pettigrew played in 14 games and caught 41 passes for 416 yards. In addition to his receiving abilities, Pettigrew is known as an excellent blocker.
Pettigrew frustrated fans with four fumbles in 2012, and in 2013 quarterback Matthew Stafford targeted Pettigrew just 64 times, compared to 100 times the previous season. Nevertheless, it proved to be a fairly redemptive 2013.
Fellow tight end Joseph Fauria snagged 18 passes – 14 of which were first downs, including seven touchdowns – for the Detroit in 2014. If Lions had wanted to obtain a tight end from the draft instead of keeping Pettigrew, the team could have gone for Eric Ebron, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound tight end who played his college ball at North Carolina.
ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. lists Ebron as No. 12 in the latest version of his mock draft, where he lauds the combination of Ebron’s speed, size and pass-catching ability and declares Ebron worthy of going in the Top 10.
Obviously, the Lions did not end up needing to go that route.
Between Pettigrew and Fauria and a wide receiver corps that includes Calvin Johnson and newcomer Golden Tate, the Lions should be even more dangerous offensively in 2014.