The Detroit Lions and Brandon Pettigrew reached an agreement on a four-year contract to keep the tight end with the franchise after he briefly tested the free-agent waters.
Tim Twentyman of the team's official site reported the deal is expected to check in at $16 million and locks up Pettigrew through the 2017 season:
The Detroit Lions have said all along they value free agent tight end Brandon Pettigrew and want him to be part of their future plans.
The team proved that wasn’t just lip service Friday morning by agreeing to terms with Pettigrew to a new 4-year contract worth a reported $16 million.
Ravens insider Aaron Wilson broke down the financial specifics:
The Lions showed Pettigrew signing his new deal via Twitter:
Twentyman also provided Pettigrew's thoughts on the Lions:
However, the tight end declined a full interview with the press after his deal was signed, according to Chris McCosky of DetroitNews.com:
Twentyman also passed along comments from new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi about the importance of a versatile tight end; the Lions clearly think the Oklahoma State product fits the bill:
I think it's important to have a guy that can block the point of attack. Then you want a guy that can be a pass receiver, so you're always looking for those well-rounded guys.
Pettigrew has appeared in 71 games across his first five seasons with the Lions since his selection in the first round of the 2009 draft. He's racked up 284 catches for over 2,800 yards and 16 touchdowns during that span.
Last season, the 29-year-old tight end finished with 41 grabs for 416 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His number of targets dropped to 64 after three straight years with at least 100 due to the heavy involvement of the team's running backs in the short passing game.
He was still a valuable member of the offense, though. He was a big target over the middle who moved the chains and was willing to fill whatever role the team needed.
His blocking has dropped off in recent years, however, as noted by Pete Damilatis of Pro Football Focus:
The Lions had to fend off interest from other teams to get him back into the fold. The New York Jets were one team that was intrigued, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN:
Detroit's offense is setting up to have most of the same playmakers back next season. That should lead to a similar role in the offense for Pettigrew, which must have been a more attractive option for him than what other teams were envisioning.
If there's one thing that could change, it's the number of looks he gets in the red zone. He's never had more than five touchdowns in a season, which is a surprise considering his 6'5" frame. Looking his way more frequently deep in opponent territory should help open some space for Calvin Johnson.
In the end, Pettigrew and the Lions are a good match, so reuniting doesn't come as a surprise.