The Detroit Lions came into Tuesday with two unsigned restricted free agents. One of them, running back Joique Bell, agreed to a three-year extension in advance of the start of the new league year. The other, tight end Dorin Dickerson, was not tendered a contract by the Lions, according to Dave Birkett.
What this means is that Dickerson is now technically an unrestricted free agent. He's free to sign with another team, and if he does agree to an offer sheet elsewhere, the Lions won't have an opportunity to match it.
Considering Dickerson played in only five games for the Lions last season and had all of two catches for 34 yards, this isn't exactly a big deal. Tendering him wouldn't have been worth the cost, so it made sense for the Lions to let him become an unrestricted free agent. It's entirely possible that the Lions could still re-sign Dickerson at some point, but when it comes to the tight end position, it looks like their focus is on free agent Scott Chandler right now.
Lions continue to mine the TE market, are discussing a possible visit with Bills TE Scott Chandler— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 11, 2014
With the Buffalo Bills, Chandler had 53 catches for 655 yards and 2 touchdowns last season. If the Lions were to sign him, chances are he would replace Brandon Pettigrew, who is testing free agency. The Lions want Pettigrew back, and perhaps the Chandler talk is just meant to be leverage in the Pettigrew negotiations. However, if Pettigrew signs with another team, Chandler wouldn't be a bad Plan B by any means.