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Lions free-agent profile: Travis Lewis' special teams skills makes him valuable

Should the Detroit Lions re-sign Travis Lewis?

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

To get ready for free agency, we're going to take a look at each of the Detroit Lions' 2016 free agents. Next up, Travis Lewis.

2015 stats

15 games (4 starts) | 21 tackles, 1.0 sacks

How he joined the Detroit Lions

Lewis was drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft and signed to a four-year rookie contract.

Case for re-signing him

Travis Lewis may not be a flashy player, but he's been a behind-the-scenes guy during his four-year career. Lewis appeared in 13 of the Lions' 16 games in his rookie year. Though a quad injury ended his 2014 season early, Lewis was more often than not a mainstay on the Lions' special teams unit during his career in Detroit.

Last year Lewis got his first significant taste of linebacker duties, starting four games on defense. Though his play didn't turn heads, he ended up finishing the season with a career high in tackles and recorded the first sack of his career. If the Lions bring him back it would be predominantly for special teams and depth.

Case against re-signing him

Lewis began the season as a starter for the Lions but eventually lost his job to Tahir Whitehead. At this point in his career it doesn't look like he'll ever progress to be a full-time starter, which makes his spot on the roster very replaceable. Detroit could potentially grab a younger, more promising linebacker on the final day of the NFL Draft.

Final verdict

The Lions currently have three* linebackers under contract: DeAndre Levy, Kyle Van Noy and Josh Bynes. Levy and Bynes could potentially be two starters for the team while Van Noy will continue to struggle to find a role with the team. That leaves a pretty big special teams hole needed to be filled by linebacker depth. Lewis has proven to be valuable in that regard, and his experience could prove the right price. In the final year of his rookie contract Lewis made $660,000. At that price Detroit could re-sign the special teamer without much backlash.

*technically the Lions have four linebackers under contract, because Stephen Tulloch hasn't officially been released

Previously: QB Dan Orlovsky, WR Lance Moore, TE Bear Pascoe, DT Tyrunn Walker, DT Jermelle Cudjo, DT Haloti Ngata, DE Jason Jones, DE Darryl Tapp, DE Corey Wootton, LB Tahir Whitehead

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