- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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Every day we’ll take a look at one of the Detroit Lions heading for free agency, what he has meant to the team before and a prognosis on whether or not he’ll be back with the club in 2014.
To see the whole Meet the Free Agents series, click this link.
Free agent to be: Dorin Dickerson (Restricted)
Position: Tight end
Years in the league: 3
What he made last season: $181,941 (cap number from second signing); $555,000 (base salary)
What he did last season: Dickerson had two stints with Detroit in 2013 -- his third team in three seasons in the NFL. Used mostly as a third tight end until Brandon Pettigrew’s injury in Week 15 against Baltimore, Dickerson played in five games, making two catches for 34 yards on five targets. He also played with a concussion during part of the home finale against the New York Giants, a game the Lions lost in overtime, 23-20. He dropped a pass and missed a block during that overtime period.
His potential market value: He is a young tight end with some skills -- that was evident during his time in Detroit -- and likely put enough on film to at least get him into a camp this offseason, if not put him on a roster this fall. His size isn’t great, but he has the ability to both block and run routes -- he was a top-rated receiver coming out of high school -- so that could make him attractive to some teams, including the Lions.
Will he fit the Lions still: He might, but he isn’t going to be as a high a priority as some other free agents. Detroit will be able to tender him an offer if it so chooses -- it would be stunning if that offer were anything more than an original round tender -- but it is no guarantee Dickerson would make the roster in the fall. His skill sets could fit the dual-threat type of tight end Joe Lombardi wants, but unlike a guy like Pettigrew, there are going to be other options out there.
What happens: This could be a cap and numbers question. It would be surprising to see Detroit offer Dickerson an original round tender because that value, which will be well over $1 million, is well more than Dickerson should probably command as a potential No. 3 tight end who might not even make the roster. If anything, Detroit would be smart to let him walk into free agency and then pursue him at a rate closer to the league minimum with some incentives attached. That is if they are still interested in Dickerson at all. That decision could come based off of what happens with Pettigrew and the value the club has with both Joseph Fauria and Michael Williams.