2017 Detroit Lions Free Agent Tracker/Breakdown

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Follow This Page For Your Up-To-Date Detroit Lions Free Agency Signings & Departures

What To Watch For In Free Agency

Welcome to the 2017 season! Free agency has kicked off today as of 4 p.m. EST and teams are free to sign free agent players to contracts and have them join their team. Detroit has many questions coming into free agency and some interest in some players.

The two biggest questions are whether or not right guard Larry Warford and right tackle Riley Reiff will return to the team. Many people around the NFL are believing Larry Warford is done in Detroit and will get paid somewhere else. For Riley Reiff, there is already an answer written on the wall. Detroit has moved on and will sign right tackle Ricky Wagner, from Baltimore.

While Detroit has been somewhat quiet with who they are interested in three names have been leaked, one being linebacker Paul Worrillow from the Atlanta Falcons, he could contend for a starting linebacker position as Detroit needs help there badly. Another is cornerback Logan Ryan from the New England Patriots. Ryan shouldn’t come too much of a surprise as he knows Bob Quinn and Detroit needs a number two cornerback to help out Darius Slay. The final one is surprising, Adrian Peterson from the Minnesota Vikings has Detroit on his list of six teams interested in the running back.

Here is where I will be proving the latest signings and departures from the Detroit Lions. Get ready to see some fresh faces in Detroit and some players leave, it is a great day as everyone feels like they can compete for a championship with their new players. Players will get overpaid and others will get underpaid, welcome to the NFL. Check back here for updates and see who is coming and leaving Detroit.

Free Agent Signings:

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Friday, March 3: Lions Re-Sign Long Snapper Don Muhlbach On One Year Contract.

Don Muhlbach was considering retirement after the end of the 2016 season, and with the drafting of long snapper Jimmy Landes in last years draft it seemed that the writing was on the wall for his departure and Detroit was ready with Landes. Now it seems that Don is ready for another year in the league.

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Tuesday, March 7: Lions Re-Sign Linebacker Brandon Copeland on One Year/615K Contract.

Another player coming back to Detroit is linebacker Brandon Copeland. Copeland mostly plays special teams, but had to play some linebacker and defensive end last season due to injuries. Detroit bringing him back on a good deal will help on special teams and the other positions for depth.

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Tuesday, March 7: Lions Re-Sign Wide Receiver TJ Jones On One Year/615K Contract.

Detroit is bringing back former practice squad member TJ Jones. Jones fought through the practice squad to get called up during the regular season during 2016. Expect Jones to continue to fight for a spot on the 53 man roster and could end up on the practice squad once again in 2017.

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Tuesday, March 7: Lions Re-Sign Defensive End Kerry Hyder On One Year/540K Contract.

The best defensive end on the roster last season is back for another go-around. Kerry Hyder, like Copeland and Jones, was an exclusive rights free agent, meaning he had to come back to Detroit no matter how much or how little they signed him for. Detroit didn’t seem to give Hyder a pay raise after an impressive season last year, getting 23 tackles and eight sacks. Next year will be the big pay day for Hyder and he could be on his way out in 2018.

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Tuesday, March 7: Lions Re-Sign Defensive Tackle Khyri Thornton To A Two Year – $3.3 Million Contract.

Detroit has brought back some depth at the defensive tackle position. Khyri Thornton has agreed to return to the team on a two year contract that is worth $3.3 million. In 2016 Thornton started six games and ended up with 14 tackles and one sack. He will return as a depth defensive tackle, most likely being the number three, four or possibly fifth tackle on the depth chart depending on who else Detroit brings in.

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Wednesday, March 8: Lions Come To Terms With Right Tackle Rick Wagner, Will Get Paid $9.5 Million Per Year, No Word On Length Of Contract Yet.

One of the biggest questions coming into the off-season was if Riley Reiff would return to the team and with this move, that answer seems to be no. Rick Wagner is a big upgrade to the right side of the offensive line. Wagner allowed only two sacks compared to four that Reiff allowed. If Detroit was looking for an upgrade on the offensive line, they hit it right here.

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Wednesday, March 8: Lions Come To Terms With Linebacker Paul Worrilow To One Year Contract, No Amount Determined Yet.

It isn’t a splashy signing, but it is in a section of the defense that needed some help. Paul Worrilow is coming to Detroit on a some what one year “prove it” deal. Last time they did this it was with Rafael Bush and he seemed to prove it just well in 2016. In his career of four years in the NFL, Worrilow has 383 total tackles, 10 pass deflections, four sacks, three forced fumbles and fumble recoveries, and two interceptions. Expect him to compete to start, if not he will be a depth linebacker position on the team. With this signing, you can eliminate Dont’a Hightower from your dream list and expect Detroit to draft a linebacker come April.

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Thursday, March 9 10:26 a.m., Lions Tender Offensive Tackle  Cornelius Lucas For One Year- $1.79 Million.

The offensive tackle market just got a bit smaller. Detroit brought back their backup offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas on a tendered contract, meaning if anybody in the NFL is willing to pay Lucas $1.8 million or more, they could snag him away from the Lions. Now with Corey Robinson coming off of foot surgery, he may be questionable for the upcoming season, so Detroit is fine with keeping Lucas for insurance. Detroit might be willing to pay upwards to two million to keep him if another team starts a bidding war, but don’t expect that. Another deal with the contract is that the money is all non-guaranteed, so if Robinson looks healthy by regular season, Lucas can get cut and Detroit gets all the money back.

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Thursday, March 9 3:00 p.m., Lions Release Linebacker DeAndre Levy

Things just got real in Detroit. After agreeing to terms with Paul Worrilow last night, the Lions are making more moves on the linebacker front. This time releasing their best linebacker in DeAndre Levy. Levy missed majority of the past two seasons, playing in only six games in the past two seasons. Getting rid of Levy doesn’t save Detroit much money shockingly as well, only free up $1.2 million. Detroit now needs to jump onto Dont’a Hightower if he is available and the number one need on the team now come draft day is linebacker. Levy will be a designated June 1 cut, so Detroit will save some of the cap room for this season, and the rumored amount they would receive back would be between $4-5.8 million. This extra cash could help with giving Matt Stafford or Ziggy Ansah an extension down the road this year.

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Thursday, March 9 4:00 p.m., Lions Right Guard Larry Warford Heading to New Orleans Saints

Time for Detroit to start looking at a guard. The former starting right guard for Detroit is heading to the Saints on a rumored $9 million per year contract. This was the second biggest question for Detroit coming into the offseason behind Reiff. With Reiff gone and Warford gone, Detroit’s offensive line will be looking different in 2017.

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Thursday, March 9 4:13 p.m., Former Lions Starting Right Tackle Riley Reiff Heading to Minnesota.

Seems like Reiff is angry about not coming back to Detroit and is headed to Minnesota. Fans knew he was leaving with Ricky Wagner agreeing to a contract, but going to a rival team could be a jab at the Lions organization.

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Thursday, March 9: 4:16 p.m., Lions Visiting Free Agent Guard TJ Lang

With Warford gone, Detroit is looking for a replacement at the right guard position and TJ Lang could be a huge upgrade for the offensive line. If Detroit can bring Lang in and Wagner in at right tackle, Detroit could have a huge increase in offensive production in 2017. Reports are saying Lang is an hour from Detroit and could have his hip be evaluated and if he passes, the team might not let him leave Detroit. Update: TJ Lang is in Allen Park as of 4:46 p.m., could see a signing here tonight.

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Thursday, March 9: 4:54 p.m., Lions Sign Defensive Tackle Akeem Spence to 3 year, $10.5 Million Contract.

Detroit needed help and depth on the defensive line and they got a good core piece in Akeem Spence. In his four year career so far in Tampa, he ended up with 98 total tackles, five and a half sacks, and three fumble recoveries. While Spence won’t be a starter in Detroit, he fills a nice backup need, depth that Detroit has needed with many of their defensive tackles leaving on one year deals.

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Thursday, March 9: 4:55 p.m., Lions Sign Defensive End Cornelius Washington to 2 year, $6 Million Contract.

Another defensive line addition to the team. This looks like Detroit isn’t going to draft a defensive lineman in the early rounds of the upcoming draft. Washington didn’t do much in Chicago his first four years, getting 30 tackles, three sacks and one pass deflection. He brings depth at the defensive end position.

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Thursday, March 9: 6:04 p.m., Cardinals Tight End Darren Fells will visit the Lions Friday.

Fells is a blocking tight end that the cardinals were hoping to sign for less than the original round restricted free agent tender. In three seasons Fells has recorded 40 receptions for 536 yards and four touchdowns. He is 6’7″ and 281lbs and graded better on PFF than Germaine Gresham in the Cardinals very demanding tight end role.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BKnappBlogs, find me on Reddit at /u/sportsguy4life and share your thoughts on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp
Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for myfantasysportstalk.com and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.