Just before the start of NFL free agency, the St. Louis Rams re-signed defensive end William Hayes, according to USA Today's Mike Garafolo. It was expected that Hayes would hit the open market, but the Rams managed to get him back under contract just in time.
This is a blow to the Detroit Lions' attempt to rebuild their depth at defensive end. Hayes was viewed as an ideal fit for the Lions, and they reportedly were "actively pursuing" him. Given his connection to Lions head coach Jim Schwartz from their time in Tennessee together and the fact that the Lions could offer him playing time, their chances of signing him were viewed as being pretty good. The Rams made sure that wouldn't happen, though.
What direction will the Lions go in now at defensive end? They reportedly have interest in Jason Jones, who also has a connection to Schwartz from playing for the Titans. He's the only free-agent defensive end from another team currently being linked to the Lions, though.
Internally, the Lions put a second-round tender on restricted free agent Willie Young, meaning he will be back in 2013. They could also re-sign Lawrence Jackson, but help from the outside will be necessary at some point for the defensive end position.
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