The Lions' offseason focus on re-tooling their offensive line continued Friday when the team agreed to a two-year contract with soon-to-be free agent tackle Corey Hilliard.

Hilliard has just five starts in six NFL seasons, but his signing makes it less likely the Lions make a push to re-sign starting right tackle Gosder Cherilus, an unrestricted free agent who could score a high-paying deal after a strong season in 2012.

ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the deal. Hilliard's agent, Blake Baratz, confirmed it on Twitter.

Hilliard, 27, has spent the last three-plus seasons with the Lions after they signed him off the Browns' practice squad in December 2009. He started four games in 2010, one in 2011 and was inactive for every game last season.

Hilliard will be among a group of players fighting for a starting job next season. Second-year lineman Riley Reiff will likely secure one of the tackle positions or the right guard vacancy left when the Lions cut Stephen Peterman last month.

The Lions also hope to re-sign restricted free agent Jason Fox, who could compete for a starting tackle or guard position as well.

Left guard Rob Sims' looks to have the tightest grip on a starting job entering the 2013 season. Veteran left tackle Jeff Backus is mulling retirement, Cherilus could be gone and center Dominic Raiola agreed to a pay cut to stay with the Lions.

Rodney Austin and Bill Nagy will both compete to start at guard or center.



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130301/SPORTS0101/303010422#ixzz2MONgolSj