Going in, you knew neither general manager Martin Mayhew nor coach Jim Schwartz was going to lay out the Lions' blueprint for this critical offseason. They weren't going to roll out their draft board and discuss which of their free agents they want to keep and which free agents they planned to target.
That's never been their MO. Here's what you got when you asked about specific players:
"There have been no decisions made," Mayhew said. "When I make a decision, we make a move and 100 percent of the time the player will know that before you (the media) do."
Or, as Schwartz said, "Everything is a work in progress."
So, as of Thursday afternoon, when Schwartz and Mayhew met in separate sessions with the media, there was no decision on whether the team was going to cut veteran center Dominic Raiola and trim another $4 million off the salary cap, or restructure the final year of his deal.
There was no word whether left tackle Jeff Backus or kicker Jason Hanson was going to retire, although Mayhew did say he was "cautiously optimistic" they might be back for another season.
But Mayhew did say he planned to be an active shopper on the free-agent market when the negotiation period starts March 9.
"We were a non-player in free agency last year, so we will definitely be a bigger player this year," Mayhew said. "We do plan to make some moves. Like I said before, we need to make some changes. Obviously, things aren't going in the right direction; they didn't go in the right direction last year. We've got to make some changes. We've got to improve our roster."
By cutting starters Titus Young, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Stephen Peterman this week, the Lions lopped $8.5 million off their payroll. That put them approximately $5 million under the salary cap for 2013.
By cutting or restructuring other players, they have the ability to create significantly more space. Mayhew said he expected to begin negotiations soon with Tom Condon, the agent for quarterback Matthew Stafford, to work out an extension.
Stafford's cap hit, as it stands, is $20.8 million.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130208/SPORTS0101/302080346#ixzz2KbM6bQzK
Lions guarded about free agent plans but intend to shop
Detroit News | Feb 11