The Detroit Lions announced today that the club has resigned linebacker Stephen Tulloch to a five-year deal. The details haven’t been announced, but the contract is believed to be worth around $40 million according to the Lions official website.
This deal ultimately marks the end of relevant free agency signings for Detroit, as this move leaves them with little cap room.
The Lions brass made a smart move to bring Tulloch back, as he was the Lions most consistent defender last season. Tulloch recorded a team-high 111 tackles, and will rejoin linebackers Justin Durant and DeAndre Levy as the Lions’ starters.
The Tulloch signing ends a very uneventful free agency period for Detroit, one that focused solely on re-signing existing players and trying to free up cap room for the near future.
While the offseason has been boring for Detroit fans thus far, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a successful one for the Lions.
Personally, I would have liked to see the Lions go after a free agent corner like Brandon Carr, but after evaluating their options, I understand why general manager Martin Mayhew decided against it. The move would have put the Lions in bad shape as far as the salary cap, and would have left them little chance to re-sign players like Tulloch, tackle Jeff Backus, and backup quarterback Shaun Hill. Backus and Hill both have signed two year deals in the past several days.
Not going after Carr and other big name free agents allowed the Lions to re-sign the players that led them to their first playoff berth in over a decade. Mayhew also got several players to restructure their contracts in big ways. By reworking the contracts of Matthew Stafford, Ndamukong Suh, Nate Burleson, and Calvin Johnson, Mayhew was able to free up huge dollars and re-sign several other players (namely, Tulloch).
While we all certainly would have liked Mayhew to go out and pursue an elite corner that the Lions currently lack, it simply wasn’t in the cards for Detroit this year.
With Tulloch re-signing, the Lions will return 21 of 22 starters next year, with corner Eric Wright being the only exception.
Wright signed a contract worth $37.5 million to play for Tampa Bay in 2012.