The Detroit Lions may be making progress in the negotiations with soon-to-be free agent Jeff Backus, but the opposite is true for the negotiations with fellow future free agent Stephen Tulloch. Although the linebacker is still having talks with the Lions, a deal does not appear to be in sight right now, according to Pro Football Talk.
Linebacker Stephen Tulloch is due, along with many other NFL players, to become a free agent on March 13 at 4:00 p.m. ET. The Lions, we’re told, hope to sign Tulloch to a new deal. We’re also told that the two sides are still talking.
For now, however, they’re not close to getting a deal done.
The problem for the Lions is that Tulloch could be one of the top free-agent linebackers if he hits the open market. Without a salary cap, they would probably have no problem paying him like one of the top linebackers out there, but given their situation, they can't afford to hand out big contracts left and right. That's why defensive end Cliff Avril is still without a long-term deal.
The Lions have indicated that the franchise tag is unlikely to be placed on Tulloch, as they will probably have to use it on Avril. If the Lions and Avril surprisingly got something done here soon, then perhaps they would consider shifting the tag to Tulloch. For now, however, it's looking more and more likely that the Lions will struggle to retain Tulloch this offseason.