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Lions To Host Eric Winston, Marcus McNeill, Jacob Lacey For Visits

Tackle Eric Winston #73 of the Houston Texans locks up with defensive end Jason Hatcher #97 of the Dallas Cowboys.
Tackle Eric Winston #73 of the Houston Texans locks up with defensive end Jason Hatcher #97 of the Dallas Cowboys.

At one point earlier today, the only free agent visits the Detroit Lions had lined up were with offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz and wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. In the past few hours, however, the Lions have been much busier with setting up visits, as three more players are now slated to stop by their facility in Allen Park.

The first visit-related news to come out tonight was about offensive tackle Eric Winston. He was just let go by the Houston Texans after starting every single game for the team at right tackle from 2007-11. The Texans let him go with a "failed physical" designation, but Winston says that was because he had arthroscopic ankle surgery last month. Winston also says that the surgery will only keep him out for another couple weeks.

The Lions are not the only team slated to host Winston for a visit. He was reportedly in Miami to meet with the Dolphins on Wednesday, and he is going to stop by the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday. After that, he will visit the St. Louis Rams, Baltimore Ravens and then the Lions. Considering Detroit appears to be his final visit, I'd be a little surprised if he isn't signed before then and it actually happens.

Another offensive tackle set to visit this week is Marcus McNeill, who was released by the San Diego Chargers on Tuesday. McNeill has dealt with neck injuries in the past and missed the final seven games of last season because of a neck problem. Between those issues and his big contract, the Chargers decided it was best to move on. Now he is headed to Allen Park on Thursday for a visit that will take place on Friday, according to Tim Twentyman.

Also according to Twentyman, the Lions plan to host cornerback Jacob Lacey for a visit. He played for the Indianapolis Colts the past three seasons and made a total of 27 starts. Last season, he recorded 72 tackles, six pass defenses, one interception, three forced fumbles and one touchdown. He was set to be a restricted free agent, but because the Colts did not tender him an offer, he is now unrestricted.

The fact that the Lions have three tackles set to visit is very interesting. Schwartz and Winston are both right tackles, which could say a lot about what the Lions' feelings are about Gosder Cherilus, who is entering the final year of his contract. McNeill is a left tackle, so he could be a potential backup plan for Jeff Backus, who has still not re-signed. It's also possible the Lions could be looking to make an upgrade at the position with McNeill, who is talented but carries the injury risk with him.

As for Lacey, he is likely being given a look as a potential replacement for Eric Wright, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.