(Ed. note: Bumped to the front page.)
The Lions have a lot of free agents to sign for the 2012 season, and they will be hard pressed to sign them all. Some will obviously be let go, while others are critical to re-sign. Here is a list of the free agents from the Lions for 2012.
There are some names on the list that are no-brainers. Cliff Avril, Don Muhlbach, Kevin Smith, Stephen Tulloch, and Eric Wright are all players that have significant value to the Lions and should be signed to a new contract. Muhlbach and Kevin Smith will be relatively cheap contracts, while Avril, Tulloch, and Wright could break the bank. Of these players, Avril is the most expendable. The Lions should try to reach a deal with him, but there just may not be enough money under the cap to keep him.
A couple of the names are restricted free agents that are almost certain to get a tender offer. Sammie Hill and DeAndre Levy are pretty much locks to get tendered, while Corey Hilliard and Ashlee Palmer are only slightly less sure. Both Hilliard and Palmer are likely to be on the camp roster even if they are eventually cut.
There are a lot of players on this list that are not as clear. For example, Jeff Backus is beginning to pile up some injuries. The Lions should sign him, but not for the $6.75 million he was making in 2011. If the Lions can get him for $2-3 million then great. Once you get higher than that it may be better to sign somebody else.
Rashied Davis and Bobby Carpenter contributed well when they had the opportunity and I expect to see them return next season.
Stefan Logan will probably be back, but he could be a roster casualty if the Lions decide that somebody else on the roster can return as well as Logan does while also playing other important roles on the team.
It is hard to tell what might happen with Leonard Davis. I expected him to play more, but his arrival made Stephen Peterman start playing well, and that might be his greatest value. If Davis does stay then I expect the Lions to give him more playing time next season.
Both of the backup quarterbacks will be free agents. Shaun Hill says he wants to return. I think that Drew Stanton will be likely to find greener pastures elsewhere.
Ben Graham will probably give way to Ryan Donahue for next season.
Fluellen and Ekejiuba have value to the team and it would not surprise me to see them back. It also would not surprise me to see them leave.
I am not sure what the coaches think of Chris Harris. He did not play very well when asked to step in. He looks slow out there.
Everybody else is likely to be gone for next season.