Detroit Lions sign 12 players to futures deals

Rob Carr

The Detroit Lions have kicked off their offseason by signing 12 players to futures deals.

From a roster standpoint, the Detroit Lions' offseason began on Tuesday with them signing a total of 12 players to futures deals, according to Tim Twentyman. Futures deals are for players who aren't on an active roster at the end of the regular season, which is why the majority of the players the Lions signed are from their practice squad. Here's the rundown:

Dominique Curry and Lance Long are the only two players on this list who didn't finish the season on the practice squad or practice squad injured reserve but were with the Lions during training camp in 2012. Long spent some time with the Lions during the regular season as well.

The only two players who are completely new to the Lions are Terrence Austin and Chastin West. Austin spent some time with the Washington Redskins earlier in his career, whereas West was previously with the Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Of the players on this list, the two I will be watching the closest in 2013 are Rodney Austin and Carmen Messina. Austin has received a lot of praise from teammates dating back to last summer, and Messina was very impressive during the 2012 preseason. I think both players will be in the mix to make the 53-man roster come next August.

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