- 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 Meet the Free Agents series thus far, click this link.
Free agent to be: Dylan Gandy
Years in the league: 9
What he made last season: $620,000 (cap value); $905,000 (cash value) -- $840,000 (base), $50,000 (roster bonus); $15,000 (workout bonus)
What he did last season: Gandy played in 15 games, mostly as a special-teams player and, due to injuries, as a receiving-eligible sixth offensive lineman. Gandy played 15 offensive snaps last season but primarily served as a backup to center Dominic Raiola and guards Rob Sims and Larry Warford. They missed a combined two snaps all year.
His potential market value: Tough to say. He hasn’t been a consistent starter since the 2009 season, his first with the Lions. It is important to at least have some veteran backups and that he can play multiple positions helps, but it will depend on the needs of various teams on the offensive line. He’ll likely be in a situation where he will be taking the veteran minimum or slightly more.
Will he fit the Lions still: Not particularly. The team has the interior of their offensive line set with Raiola, Sims and Warford all set to come back for 2014, as well as Rodney Austin under contract. The team is also expected to draft a center in May. If the team releases Leroy Harris, who is supposed to count $2,062,500 against the cap next season and didn’t play a game in 2013, perhaps the team could bring back Gandy with part of that cap room.
What happens: Detroit will have other priorities ahead of looking at Gandy, so if he is able to find another offer from a team, he would probably be wise to take it. Unless the Lions are planning on filling every “major” hole through the draft -- receiver, cornerback, safety and potentially tight end and linebacker -- Gandy will not be the first priority and as a veteran could be expensive for Detroit to retain. If he is still around after the initial wave of free-agent signings, then the team could bring him back. But if Harris remains on the roster, don’t expect it. It might be an either/or situation there. He does have some familiarity with new head coach Jim Caldwell from their time together in Indianapolis, so that could be a help as well.
1hEric D. Williams