Twentyman: Lions can't guarantee the return of Jason Hanson in 2013

Posted Mar 19, 2013

Speaking with media at NFL Owners Meetings, team president Tom Lewand says talks are occurring between Jason Hanson's agent and the Lions, but nothing is a sure thing

PHOENIX – The Detroit Lions have really known only one kicker over the last 21 seasons. There have been some temporary step-ins due to injury, but Jason Hanson has been a Lions mainstay since 1992.

Jason Hanson
K Jason Hanson (Photo: AP Images)

Hanson, 42, is third in NFL history in both points and field goals made, and is the franchise's all-time leading scorer. He's also an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

"We are waiting to hear back from them at this point and see where we are," Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand said Tuesday at the NFL League Meetings. "We have had discussions with them ever since Jason indicated that he wanted to play this year and we'll see where that comes out."

The Lions paid Hanson nearly $3 million last season, but don't seem to be in a position to offer him anything close to that this year.

Hanson's agent, Jack Mills, told The Detroit News on Tuesday that the Lions' current offer isn't interesting to them and they didn't see any urgency about trying to make a deal. It's believed that offer is close to the veteran minimum.

"It's not a system that provides allowance for sentimentality," Lewand said. "We have the upmost respect for Jason and want to have him back, but it's a situation where he has to fit.

"The salary cap is a real restraint for all 32 clubs and we have to operate within that within our plan."

Hanson continues to be a model of consistency entering his 22nd year in the league. He made 89 percent of his field goal tries in 2012 (32 of 36) and has only been under 80 percent in six of his 21 years in the league.

The only issue the Lions might have at this point would be the distance of his kickoffs. The Lions ranked 27th in the NFL last year with a touchback percentage of 34.5.

The Lions are looking to increase that total in 2013, whether it be with a punter who can also kick off, Hanson proving he has a strong enough leg or another kicker all together.