The harsh reality of Sunday's loss is that many Detroit Lions players likely just played their final game with the team. Some will be released in the coming months, and others will depart for new teams in free agency. And it's possible that one or two players may have just played their final game in the NFL and are now headed for retirement.
At this point, it's tough to really speculate about what the Lions' offseason plans will entail, but several soon-to-be free agents want to re-sign and stay in Detroit. Just look at cornerback Rashean Mathis, who will be 35 next August. He is coming off a solid season, and he wants to play for at least one more year with the Lions.
Rashean Mathis wants to play with the Lions at least one more year. Said Jim Caldwell is the best NFL coach he's ever had.— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) January 5, 2015
Kicker Matt Prater, who joined the Lions during the season after being released by the Denver Broncos, isn't nearing the end of his NFL career or anything like that. Chances are he will draw interest from multiple teams if he hits free agency, but he would also prefer to just stay in Detroit.
Matt Prater: "I've already told my agent I want to stay here. I've enjoyed it so much. I want to stay here."— Detroit Lions (@Lions) January 5, 2015
Prater: "I feel loyalty here. They gave me an opportunity. I love the team and coaches. From ownership, Tom, Martin, everyone."— Detroit Lions (@Lions) January 5, 2015
Defensive tackle Nick Fairley, quarterback Kellen Moore and center Dominic Raiola are just some of the other impending free agents who want to stay with the Lions.
Nick Fairley told me he would like to remain in Detroit with the #Lions— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) January 5, 2015
Kellen Moore, a restricted free agent, said he's more than happy to come back to Detroit, even as a third-stringer. Loves it here.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) January 5, 2015
Dominic Raiola was in tears after his exit meeting. Said he's heard nothing about his future, but believes he's got 1 more run in him.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) January 5, 2015
Finally, running back Reggie Bush wants to remain with the Lions going forward. He's in a much different situation considering he's under contract through 2016 but could be a cap casualty this offseason. It's unclear if he will be in the Lions' future plans at this point in time, but he's planning on being in Detroit next season.
#Lions Reggie Bush: "I have two years remaining on my contract. Unless someone tells me different, I plan on coming back."— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) January 5, 2015
This could be a very significant offseason for the Lions. With notable players like Ndamukong Suh and Fairley headed for free agency and others like Raiola and Mathis nearing the end of their careers, this could be a much different-looking team next season. Only time will tell just how many changes are coming to the Lions, but this is certainly shaping up to be an interesting offseason.