Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The tight end market is an interesting one for Detroit, should they opt to attack the position in free agency.
The number one option on the market is Jimmy Graham, but the New Orleans Saints placed the franchise tag on him. As noted by Sports World News, it would cost two first-round picks to sign him, in addition to the exorbitant salary he figures to command.
With former Green Bay Packer Jermichael Finley's health questionable after neck surgery (h/t Dr. Dave Siebert of Bleacher Report), the best available tight end could very well be Brandon Pettigrew.
The former first-round pick has spent his entire career in Detroit, but the Lions opted to let him test the open market. He will have other suitors.
Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reported that the Giants are looking at Pettigrew to fill their gaping hole at the position.
While the Lions do indeed have interest in bringing Pettigrew back, as noted from ESPN's report on Mayhew's media session at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, they cannot afford to enter into a bidding war for Pettigrew.
His successor as the starting tight end, Joseph Fauria, is already on the roster. In addition, 2013 seventh-round pick Michael Williams figures into the mix in Pettigrew's blocking role.
The Lions would like to have Pettigrew back in the den, but they won't overpay.
Fallback options are fairly slim, as this is not a great free-agent class at tight end. The next two options on CBS's list of top free agents are Garrett Graham and Scott Chandler, ranking 122 and 123 respectively.
Don't expect the Lions to make much of a splash here in free agency if Pettigrew does not return. The draft offers more realistic options, given the cap constraints and the more pressing needs at other positions.