Martin Mayhew says Detroit Lions are targeting nine of 23 prospective free agents

Posted Feb 22, 2013

Martin Mayhew says the Lions are specifically focused on re-signing nine of their 23 prospective unrestricted free agents this offseason, but wouldn't elaborate as to who those players are

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew says the team has targeted nine of their prospective 23 free agents to be re-signed.

So, who are the nine?

Mayhew wasn't about to go that far.

"I'll put it like this, and maybe you guys can identify them, but there are about nine guys that we really are focused on of the 22 (not including Jerome Harrison) and there are a bunch of other guys," he told beat writers down at the NFL Scouting Combine Friday morning.

"There's some guys that we're very focused on, and I won't prioritize it. That's where we are."

The Detroit Lions have already been busy this offseason clearing away enough cap space to be "selectively aggressive" in free agency.

The team saved approximately $8.5 million worth of cap space with the release of Titus Young, Stephen Peterman and Kyle Vanden Bosch and added more millions in savings with the restructuring of Dominic Raiola and Nate Burleson's deals, though those financial details are unknown. It's estimated those restructures could have saved the team more than $5 million.

Even more significant savings could be on the way with the extension of quarterback Matthew Stafford's contract and his $20-plus million cap hit for 2013. Mayhew said he and another team representative met with Stafford's agent, Tom Condon, Thursday in Indianapolis.  

Matthew Stafford"We did meet with Tom Condon (Thursday). Me, Tom (Lewand), Brian Xanders met," Mayhew said. "We had a preliminary conversation and I think it was productive.

"We discussed some things with Tom, he'll discuss things with Matthew and we will follow up with a second conversation. Sometimes these things move along quickly and sometimes they take a little longer. We're prepared for whatever way it goes."

Mayhew said he didn't feel any pressure to get a deal done before free agency begins March 12, though having a deal in place will allow the team more flexibility when free agency begins.

The team will be meeting with Cliff Avril's agent Brian Mackler today.

"I plan to hook up with him at some point today and keep that dialogue going," Mayhew said. "We spend a lot of time talking to the agents for our players. We've had a lot of those meetings, and we have some more to come.

"It's been a good week as far as moving forward on those things. I think there's a lot of value to the face-to-face time. It's different than calling a guy up and catching him in the office when he's talking about 50 different guys.

"There's a lot of value in sitting and talking to him about where guys fit and how we seem them, and how we value them, and what we think about them. We've been doing a lot of that this week."