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Friday, March 14, 2014
A primer to Day 4 of Lions free agency

By Michael Rothstein

ALLEN PARK, Mich. – The options are starting to dwindle.

Detroit took care of its wide receiver issue – at least in part – by signing Golden Tate. It handled a defensive line hole – kind of – by signing two players, but also had a big hole open when Willie Young went to Chicago.

And the Lions made progress on their gap at safety on Thursday, although no deal was completed. Meanwhile, the Tate deal also showed the Lions need to find some more room under the cap, so contract restructures and other moves might be coming as well.

Oh, and Detroit still could end up signing some players, too. This is Free Agency – Day 4.

QUARTERBACK:
What’s changed: Not much yet. A source said Shaun Hill is still on the table to Detroit, but that both sides were also looking at other options before talking again soon.

Who is out there: Shaun HillLuke McCown.

Chances something happens Friday: Not likely, but there could be a move if both Hill and the Lions agree that it is the best fit still at this point.

RUNNING BACK:
What’s changed: Henry Hynoski is off the board, re-signing with the Giants, so the Lions' search for a fullback continues. It might end shortly if the team feels comfortable enough with Montell Owens. He is due $100,000 on the fifth day of the league year if he is still on the roster.
Who is out there: Vonta LeachJed Collins.

Chances something happens Friday: If Detroit thinks there are better options they can secure, they could let go of Owens, but if not, they’ll keep him on the roster and could end the search for a true fullback.

WIDE RECEIVER
What’s changed: Not much from the Golden Tate signing. His cap number in 2014 will be $3.1 million and the Lions currently have over $20 million in cap room invested in the position. This seems like a wait-a-while-and-see position now.

Who is out there: Lance Moore; Jason Avant.

Chances something happens Friday: Don’t see anything happening here Friday.

TIGHT END:
What’s changed: Brandon Pettigrew signed a four-year deal Friday morning worth $16 million, according to the Detroit Free Press. This should solve their need at tight end.

Who is out there: Brandon Pettigrew

Chances something happens Friday: Definite. He is expected to be in Detroit on Friday.

OFFENSIVE LINE:
What’s changed: Phil Costa is off the board, headed to Indianapolis.

Who is out there: None.

Chances something happens Friday: Highly, highly unlikely. At least for anyone of note.

DEFENSIVE LINE:
What’s changed: The Lions signed two depth defensive linemen Thursday, Darryl Tapp and Vaughn Martin. Also, Willie Young is headed to Detroit’s rival, Chicago, so he is no longer a candidate to return to the Lions. That said, Young being off the board means there is a need with Detroit.

Who is out there: No one of note right now. Could Jared Allen or Julius Peppers end up being a possibility? If they are willing to come cheap, maybe.

Chances something happens Friday: If it is a veteran Detroit knows, perhaps. But not likely at all considering both Peppers and Allen were out there when the team signed Tapp and Martin.

LINEBACKER:
What’s changed: LaMarr Woodley is headed to Oakland, so that homecoming is not going to happen.

Who is out there: Right now, no one.

Chances something happens Friday: Still not a massive need at the outset.

CORNERBACK:
What’s changed: Not much from a day ago. The same guys are still out there and none of them have even really seemed to move the marker with other teams.

Who is out there: This is what I wrote Thursday and it still applies: Rashean Mathis is still out there. With Denver signing Aqib Talib, it would seem like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie wouldn’t be returning to the Broncos. He played for Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin in Arizona. Charles Tillman is out there, too. After the Tate signing, though, Rodgers-Cromartie and Tillman might be out of Detroit’s price range.

Chances something happens Friday: Not likely.

SAFETY:
What’s changed: James Ihedigbo seemed close to signing a deal Thursday, but left the Lions facility without a definitive job in hand. He told reporters that he hopes to sign with the Lions and that an issue with his representation is part of the holdup.

Who is out there: Chris Clemons is still out there, but the Lions seem focused on Ihedigbo.

Chances something happens Friday: Highly possible if he can get things sorted in a timely manner.