Lions receiver Mike Furrey, who until this season was an unknown in the league, was one of the NFC's best pass-catchers all year long. The Lions picked him up from the Rams in the offseason and converted him to wide receiver after he was a safety in St. Louis. Under the Mike Martz offense, Furrey flourished and had a total of 98 catches and over 1,000 yards receiving. The contract that brought Furrey to Detroit was only for this past season, meaning that a new deal or extension would have to be negotiated in order to keep Mike in Detroit.
Originally, it appeared Detroit would end up signing Furrey to an extension prior to the final game in order to put the salary on 2006's salary cap. However, the two sides never agreed to terms and negotiating reportedly broke off altogether until recently.
It appears now that a deal between the Lions and Furrey should be coming relatively soon. Maybe even within the next 24 hours. The two sides have begun talking again and all signs point to a new contract being signed. As Tom Kowalski says on his blog, these factors may contribute to Furrey signing rather quickly.
--- With Mike Martz out of the picture for a head coaching job, Furrey knows that Martz will be back in Detroit -- so Furrey wants to be back in Detroit. Furrey didn't want to make a move until he knew where Martz was going to be.
--- Most importantly, Furrey doesn't want to go into free agency. While the Lions are willing to wait for free agency if Furrey doesn't believe he's getting fair market value, Furrey has 3.5 million reasons not to wait. That's the amount of dollars Furrey will likely receive in bonuses as soon as he signs a new deal.
If, for some reason, the Lions can't come to an agreement on a new contract with Furrey, then he would become a free agent in March. Even if that were to happen, Furrey could still end up back in Detroit after testing the waters. However, I expect a deal to be done by the end of the week at the latest. Stay tuned for more updates on this developing story.