After hearing Lions new OC Joe Lombardi discuss impending free agent TE Brandon Pettigrew it appears as though he could be the next free agent that they turn their attention after re-signing C Dominic Raiola this past week.
“I think it’s important to have a guy that can block at the point of attack. That’s important,” Lombardi said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “And then you want a guy that can be a pass receiver, so you’re always looking for those well-rounded guys. But again, I’ve never been in the mode of I wanted to find exactly what this player is and then you have to go find him for me. Go find the best player you can.”
Birkett adds that the Lions have had “no substantial contract discussions” with Pettigrew and his representatives up to this point and will still need to free up more cap space in order to get an agreement in place.
Before re-signing Raiola, the Lions were projected to be about $5 million over the cap, but they have a few ways to create a substantial amount of cap space with the easiest of which being a long-term extension for DT Ndamukong Suh.
Pettigrew, 28, really hasn’t lived up to expectations over the course of his career given that the Lions used the No. 20 overall pick on him during the 2009 NFL draft.
Last year, he totaled 41 receptions for 416 yards and two touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 55 tight end in the league out of 64 qualifying players, although he did prove to be an effective blocker.
The tight end market could be very limited, especially considering that Jimmy Graham is likely to be franchised, which could in Pettigrew’s favor. It will be interesting to see how the Lions approach this situation given their cap situation and the fact that Pettigrew could have a decent market if he were to reach free agency.