The Lions weren’t expected to use their franchise tag on tight end Brandon Pettigrew on Monday and the deadline indeed passed without the tag being applied.
That leaves the Lions with just a few days to get a deal done with Pettigrew before he can start talking to other teams on Saturday. The two sides are talking and the Lions have said they’d like to have Pettigrew back next season, but Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports that “odds are” they won’t be able to agree on a new deal by that point.
Tight ends played a big role in the offense when new head coach Jim Caldwell was in both Indianapolis and Baltimore so the Lions’ interest in retaining Pettigrew makes sense, but their other needs and overall cap situation could make that an impossibility.
Birkett also reports that the Lions are talking about a new deal with running back Joique Bell. If they can’t make it happen, they’re expected to tender the impending restricted free agent at the second-round level with a salary of just over $2 million.