The Detroit Lions have five exclusive-rights free agents this offseason. Based on what Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said on Friday, we already know that two of them -- wide receivers Jeremy Ross and Kris Durham -- will for sure be back. Chances are tight end Matt Veldman, linebacker Julian Stanford and cornerback Chris Greenwood will be tendered contracts as well, meaning their only option for 2014 will be to re-sign with the Lions.
Ross actually joined the Lions during the 2013 season, originally as a member of their practice squad. His sudden promotion to the 53-man roster seemed a bit strange at the time, but he quickly proved to be a more effective returner than Micheal Spurlock. Ross also showed some flashes of potential in limited action in a Nate Burleson type of role at wide receiver, but the Lions are going to bring him back with the intention of having him return kicks and punts again.
As for Durham, he made 13 starts for the Lions last season and caught 38 passes for 490 yards and 2 touchdowns. He became the Lions' No. 2 wide receiver when Burleson went down with an injury, and bringing him back is really a no-brainer given the minimal cost. I'm sure the Lions would prefer to not have to play him in a No. 2 kind of role this year, but as the fourth guy on the depth chart or something like that, Durham is a decent option at wide receiver.
If the Lions do indeed bring Veldman, Stanford and Greenwood back, all three players will go into training camp as backups looking to make the 53-man roster.