Under the current collective bargaining agreement, players that have been in the league for five years or less and become free agents are restricted. This change occurred last year when the salary cap went away, as the rules were meant to give teams a better chance of retaining their players. Under a new CBA, it's likely that things will go back to the way they were, meaning players with four or five years of service would become unrestricted free agents.
Because there isn't absolute certainty that the rules will change back to what they once were, the Detroit Lions are planning on tendering some of their restricted free agents. Martin Mayhew wouldn't release the names of the players that will be tendered just yet, though.
"I’m not going to get into specific names of specific guys because I haven’t informed all those guys what their status is," Mayhew said. "Some will be tendered, some will not be tendered, so I don’t want to get into, ‘Well is this guy? Is that guy?’ We’ve met on that (last week), we’ve made a determination on that and we’ll announce those at the appropriate time."
As a refresher, here are the four- and five-year players that are set to become restricted free agents under the rules of the current CBA: QB Drew Stanton, WR Brian Clark, OG Dylan Gandy, DE Turk McBride, LB Bobby Carpenter, CB Chris Houston, CB Brandon McDonald, CB Tye Hill, S John Wendling and K Dave Rayner. RB Kevin Smith, FB Jerome Felton, OT Corey Hilliard, DE Cliff Avril and DT Andre Fluellen are also set to become restricted free agents. They have been in the league only three years, so it's likely they will be restricted even if some rules are changed in the new CBA.