As a precursor to free agency and the NFL Draft, we are going to take a look at each position on the Detroit Lions roster. We conclude the series with a look at the Lions' special teams.
Under contract: John Potter (2015), Giorgio Tavecchio (2015), Sam Martin (2016), Don Muhlbach (2014)
Free agents: David Akers (UFA)
Going into free agency last year, there were a lot of question marks surrounding the Lions' special teams players. It was unclear if Jason Hanson was going to return or retire, and it was unclear what the Lions were going to do at punter after deciding to not bring back Nick Harris. Also, the Lions didn't have any long snappers under contract when free agency opened a year ago.
This year, the only question mark is at kicker. The Lions aren't going to re-sign David Akers, but they did sign both John Potter and Giorgio Tavecchio to futures deals after the 2013 season. For now, it appears that either Potter or Tavecchio will replace Akers as the Lions' starting kicker, but it's possible that the team could add another player later in the offseason to compete with them.
At punter and long snapper, things are set. Sam Martin is back at punter after a strong rookie season, and everybody's favorite long snapper, Don Muhlbach, is also back after recently signing a one-year deal.
Need going forward?
The starters are locked in at punter and long snapper, so the only uncertainty is at kicker. If the Lions feel comfortable with Potter and Tavecchio competing to replace Akers, then there's no real need here. On the other hand, if the Lions get to the draft and want someone with more talent, then they could use one of their later picks on a kicker. It's also possible that they could simply sign an undrafted free agent to compete for the starting kicker job, but it'll ultimately come down to the Lions' comfort level with Potter and Tavecchio.
Previously: Quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, offensive guard, center, defensive end, defensive tackle, linebacker, cornerback, safety