Center Dominic Raiola signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions last week, meaning he is now under contract for his 14th season in the NFL. Raiola turned 35 a day after the Lions' 2013 season came to a close, but he is coming off a stellar year. He graded out as the second-best center in all of the NFL on Pro Football Focus, and the Lions didn't wait around to get him back under contract.
With Raiola back for 2014, the Lions don't need a new starting center this year. At some point they will have to think about their future plans at the position, but Raiola is actually hoping to keep starting center off the Lions' list of needs until 2016. That's because he is hoping to play two more seasons. From the Free Press:
"I’m this close to 15 (years)," he said. "If I can play at that level, I’d like to play 15 and finish it off here. So I just want to keep that level of play up and the rest will take care of itself just like it did this year."
If Raiola is able to play like he did in 2013, then there's really no reason for the Lions to replace him. Again, they do need to start thinking about the future at center, and perhaps that will involve drafting someone who can be ready to take over for Raiola in a year or two. For now, though, Raiola is locked in as the starter at center for his 14th season in the NFL, and if everything goes well this year, he should be back for his 15th and likely final season next year.