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Lions officially don't use franchise tag

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The Detroit Lions did not use the franchise tag this year.

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

As expected, the Detroit Lions have decided to not use the franchise tag. Much like last year, they deemed that none of their free agents were worth the guaranteed salary that would come along with the franchise tag, so they opted to not use it.

What this means is that tight end Brandon Pettigrew will indeed become a free agent on March 11 -- unless the Lions re-sign him before then, that is. The Lions have made it known that they want Pettigrew back, but tying up $7.035 million to franchise him simply would not have been wise. He's not worth that much, and the Lions can't afford to tie up more than $7 million in cap space with one free agent anyway.

The Lions may not have used the franchise tag, but several teams did:

Carolina Panthers: DE Greg Hardy
New Orleans Saints: TE Jimmy Graham
New York Jets: K Nick Folk
Washington Redskins: OLB Brian Orakpo

Also, two teams used the transition tag -- yes, that still exists -- this year:

Cleveland Browns: C Alex Mack
Pittsburgh Steelers: OLB Jason Worilds