The Detroit Lions have re-signed offensive tackle Corey Hilliard, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The deal is for two years and ensures that Hilliard won't become a free agent when the new league year begins on March 12.
According to Schefter, Hilliard is being brought back with the expectation that he will compete for a starting spot at right tackle. In other words, the Lions don't expect to re-sign Gosder Cherilus, so there will be a vacancy at right tackle. Hilliard, along with Riley Reiff and Jason Fox, will be the main guys in the mix to take over for Cherilus, at least going into the draft.
Hilliard joined the Lions in 2009 after being signed off the Cleveland Browns' practice squad. He had spent his first two seasons in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, although he was active for only five games. With the Lions, he was active for 16 games in both 2010 and 2011. He made a total of five starts in that time, but with Reiff being drafted and nobody really missing extensive time last year, Hilliard didn't dress once in 2012.
This move comes after Lions general manager Martin Mayhew indicated last month that Hilliard was someone they wanted to re-sign. Now that this is out of the way, the Lions can turn their attention to trying to re-sign some other soon-to-be free agents.