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Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Meet the free agents: LB Julian Stanford

By Michael Rothstein

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 he'll be back with the club in 2014.

To read the entire series to date, click on this link.

Free agent to be: Julian Stanford (Exclusive rights)

Position: Linebacker

Age: 23

Years in the league: 2

What he made last season: $112,941 (cap value); $480,000 (cash value and base salary)

What he did last season: Stanford signed with the Lions after Travis Lewis was suspended for the last four games of the 2013 season for using Adderall, a banned substance. He played no defensive snaps in those four games but made an impact on special teams with three tackles. He had played for Detroit Lions special teams coach John Bonamego in Jacksonville in 2012, where he was signed as an undrafted free agent. He made the team and had 17 defensive tackles and a fumble recovery as a rookie.

His potential market value: If he doesn't get a deal with Detroit, he'll likely end up in camp with another team. He's still young and a willing participant in special teams, where he hung in during his four games with the Lions.

Will he fit the Lions still: Yes. He was brought to Detroit in part because of his familiarity with what Bonamego likes to run. He did well in his short stint and now has 20 games of experience under Bonamego's system, so that should be a benefit for him if the team chooses to bring him back on the exclusive rights deal.

What happens: The prediction here is that he returns and gives Travis Lewis a run at being one of Detroit's special teams linebackers. He likely won't crack any sort of linebacker rotation with Detroit -- not with DeAndre Levy and Stephen Tulloch in front of him -- but he could be a valuable player still. It would not be surprising if he returns and ends up making a real push to be considered for a roster spot.