Linebacker Stephen Tulloch is due, along with many other NFL players, to become a free agent on March 13 at 4:00 p.m. ET. The Lions, we’re told, hope to sign Tulloch to a new deal. We’re also told that the two sides are still talking.
For now, however, they’re not close to getting a deal done.
Tulloch and defensive end Cliff Avril are the two highest-profile Lions who are poised to hit the market. The team simultaneously is hoping to strike a long-term extension with receiver Calvin Johnson, in the hopes of driving down his $21 million cap number for 2012. G.M. Martin Mayhew ruled out last week the possibility of cutting receiver Nate Burleson and defensive lineman Corey Williams in order to free up cap space.
In his first and (so far) only year with the Lions, Tulloch started 16 regular-season games and one playoff game. He spent his five prior NFL seasons with the Titans.
The Lions are more likely to use the franchise tag on Avril than Tulloch. Ideally, they’ll sign Tulloch to a long-term deal and then tag Avril.
Ideally, that is, for the Lions. Teams with designs on either player could be hoping for the whole thing to blow up.