Describing the 2012 version of the Detroit Lions as extremely disappointing is mild, and to get the train back on the tracks, they must make the right moves in the upcoming free agency period and the 2013 NFL draft. The Lions have enormous salary cap issues, and the situation looks to be terribly complex. One thing is clear: General manager Martin Mayhew and the decision-makers will earn their money this offseason.
There are going to be significant roles that have to be filled with many of their own players set to enter free agency. The Lions will not get all of their players to return, and the decisions they make are going to be critical to the success of the team going forward. Clearly, the Lions will need a few players from the 2012 draft to emerge for them.
According to spotrac.com, the Lions have 28 players set to hit the market, 14 on each side of the ball. 10 of these defensive free agents have played key roles for this defense on 2012, from defensive end Cliff Avril to cornerback Chris Houston. Safety Louis Delmas and critical backups like Corey Williams, Willie Young and Lawrence Jackson all have the opportunity to leave.
On offense, the outlook is not as bleak as it is on defense, but decisions will have to be made, especially along the offensive line where starting right tackle Gosder Cherilus and backups Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard are set to become free agents.
It is going to be a difficult chore, but the Lions need to be right with the players they choose to pay and what positions they address. Let’s look at the free agents and draft prospects the Lions have to get in 2013.