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Quinn keeping tabs on veteran free agents

Lions GM Bob Quinn is always on the lookout for players who can make his roster stronger.

The Lions talked to some veteran free agents, and Quinn is leaving his options open when it comes to signing a veteran over the course of the next month.

"I think there's a chance that we could add some players here between now and (the start of training camp)," Quinn told hosts Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller in a recent Sirius NFL Radio interview.

"Our roster sits at 89 as we speak right now, so we actually do have one roster spot that we could fill in the next few weeks. There are certain veteran free agents that we have spoken to over the last couple months that we're keeping tabs on. I'm never going to say never about acquiring a good player."

Quinn has traded for, signed or re-signed 61 players and draft picks since taking over in January.


Rashean Mathis (Photo: Detroit Lions)

Recent history shows us there can still be good buys in July and August:

On July 20, 2000 the Lions signed veteran return man Desmond Howard. He played in 15 games in the 2000 season and averaged 14.7 yards per punt return with a touchdown. He went to the Pro Bowl that season.

On Aug. 17, 2003 defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson, a former No. 1 overall pick by Cincinnati, signed a free-agent contract with the Lions after garnering interest from Dallas and Green Bay. He started all 16 games during the 2003 season and immediately improved Detroit's run defense. He finished with 24 tackles and two sacks his first season in Detroit. He started 16 games in 2004 and 2005 and finished with 6.5 sacks in three seasons.

On Aug. 1, 2010 Detroit signed veteran free-agent linebacker Stephen Tulloch who went on to start all 16 games and record 111 tackles in 2010. He recorded at least 100 tackles in four of the next five seasons in Detroit.

On Aug. 18, 2013 cornerback Rashean Mathis signed a free-agent contract in Detroit. He started 13 games in 2013 with 47 tackles and 15 pass breakups. He was also a starter in 2014 and 2015 before his retirement in 2016. His biggest contribution, however, might end up being the guidance and mentorship he gave fellow cornerback Darius Slay during Slay's first few seasons in the league.

Don't be surprised if Quinn continues to tweak the roster with veteran help before training camp begins in July or sometime during camp in August.

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