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Friday, February 8, 2013
BBAO: Lions planning active free agency

By Kevin Seifert

We're Black and Blue All Over:

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew made a mildly surprising projection Thursday: The Lions will be an active player in the free agent market this offseason.

I think we would all agree the Lions need help at more positions than the draft can reasonably provide, especially considering how many of their defensive starters have expiring contracts. But the Lions' salary cap situation remains tight even after slashing $8.5 million in cap commitments this week. That got them to about $5 million under the expected $121 million cap, according to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.

That can only mean the Lions plan to create some more space, quite possibly by extending the contract of quarterback Matthew Stafford to reduce his cap hit. Here's what Mayhew told reporters Thursday:

"We were a non-player in free agency last year, so we will definitely be a bigger player this year. We do plan to make some moves. Like I said before, we need to make some changes. Obviously, things aren't going in the right direction. They didn't go in the right direction last year. We've got to make some changes. We've got to improve our roster."

In hindsight, as we discussed before, the Lions overvalued their roster last season by standing pat. They can't afford to reverse course too much in free agency this year, but for most teams, the best team-building approach includes participation in every avenue available.

Continuing around the NFC North: