This year, the Detroit Lions have four restricted free agents, three of whom are on the defensive side of the ball: defensive tackle Sammie Hill, linebacker DeAndre Levy and linebacker Ashlee Palmer. The lone offensive player who is restricted is offensive tackle Corey Hilliard.
Being a restricted free agent means teams have the opportunity to extend a tendered offer that carries a specific salary and possible compensation along with it. A tendered offer allows teams to match any offer that comes a restricted free agent's way and potentially receive a draft pick if the offer isn't matched. Teams can also decline to extend an offer, making restricted free agents unrestricted. For the Lions' four RFAs, no decisions have been made just yet.
Mayhew also said he hasn't decided yet on tenders for RFAs -- Levy, Hilliard, Sammie Hill, Ashlee Palmer— Chris McCosky (@cmccosky) February 24, 2012
It seems likely that the Lions will bring back all four players. Levy is a starter; Hill and Hilliard are valuable backups; and Palmer is a good special teams player. What the Lions may be waiting on is to see what happens with some other players before deciding on what level tender each player will receive. Since the salary and risk of losing a player goes hand in hand with the level of the tender, the Lions have to choose wisely when extending them to their restricted free agents.