No NFL team has more unrestricted free agents than the Lions, and general manager Martin Mayhew said Friday he has a wish list of players he wants to retain.
"I'll put it like this and maybe you guys can identify it, but there are about nine guys that we're really focused on of the (23 free agents)," Mayhew said. "And there's a bunch of other guys, and we're in contact with them. But there's some guys that we're very focused on, and I won't prioritize it. But that's where we are."
Mayhew had an afternoon meeting Friday with representatives for his most high-profile free agent -- defensive end Cliff Avril -- and the Lions would like to keep their sack leader from the past two seasons if possible.
They continue to work toward freeing cap space to do so -- Mayhew said he had a "productive" conversation Thursday with agent Tom Condon about a new deal for quarterback Matthew Stafford -- and intends to restructure the contracts of several others.
Already, Nate Burleson and Dominic Raiola have taken pay cuts for 2013, and a new deal for Stafford could free up about $10 million in cap room.
"We discussed some things with Tom, and he'll discuss them with Matthew, and we'll follow up and have a second conversation," Mayhew said. "Sometimes those things move along quickly and sometimes they take a longer time. We're prepared for either way it goes, whether it's a longer discussion or whether it's a shorter discussion."
Lions narrow focus on roster: Negotiations begin for Cliff Avril, Matthew Stafford
Detroit Free Press | Feb 23