The Detroit Lions' top two free agents this offseason are defensive end Cliff Avril and middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch. While it seems more and more likely that Avril will be franchised if the Lions can't get a deal done with him in the near future, Tulloch very well could hit the open market.
The Lions have made it known that they want both players back, but due to the salary cap situation, it may be tough to retain the pair of defensive players. Part of that stems from the fact that both would likely draw a lot of interest on the open market. In fact, already Tulloch is being linked to at least one team.
Lions LB Stephen Tulloch would be a major upgrade for the Bucs. Don't be surprised if Tampa Bay targets him at the start of free agency.— Ira Kaufman (@IKaufmanTrib) February 20, 2012
Expect to hear more stories like this as free agency nears and teams' plans start to leak out. While simply being linked to a team doesn't necessarily mean much, it's a sign that the Lions could have a difficult time bringing back everybody they want. I suppose this is the one downside of success.