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Lions Rumors: Calvin Johnson, Front Office, & Free Agency

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press runs down a number of topics regarding the Lions based on conversations he had at the Combine in his latest column.

Calvin Johnson

  • Birkett still isn’t sure what will happen with WR Calvin Johnson, but retirement is considered the “overwhelmingly the most likely outcome.”
  • According to Birkett, there has been plenty of speculation regarding Johnson both locally and at the combine this week.
  • A source close to Johnson said he expects a decision sometime before April’s NFL draft.
  • Of course, the Lions would prefer to know what he plans to do before the start of free agency, so this could be an interesting  situation to watch in the coming weeks.

Front Office

While many anticipate that the Lions will experience some growing pains following the hiring of president Rod Wood and general manager Bob Quinn, Birkett writes that the transition could be aided by a strong staff they’ve put together.

  • Birkett mentions that director of player personnel Kyle O’Brien, southwest area scout Mark Olson, and cap manager Matt Harriss are all big additions for the Lions’ front office.

Free Agency

  • Birket spoke with some people involved in the free agent WR market, who expect this year’s receivers to secure contracts that would pay them around $6 million or so per year.
  • Birket considers Bengals safety George Iloka as a player the Lions could target in free agency.
  • According to Birkett, it appears “increasingly likely” that DT Haloti Ngata returns to Detroit.

Other Notes: 

  • Birkett writes that the Lions are expected to follow the Patriots model in regards to the draft and grade prospects more by role than round.
  • Even though Quinn said that Riley Reiff will be part of the Lions’ offensive line in 2016, Birkett seems to think the Lions would still prefer to upgrade that position.
  • The Lions are likely to sign CB Darius Slay to an extension this offseason, according to Birkett.
  • However, they’ll likely wait to address DEs Ziggy Ansah and Devin Taylor in the coming months. Detroit will obviously pick Ansah’s fifth-year rookie option this spring.

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