According to a report from the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett, the Detroit Lions have offered an exclusive rights free agency tender to linebacker Anthony Pittman. In short, the Lions have offered Pittman a one-year contract at the salary minimum, and now Pittman must decide whether he wants to sign that contract or sit out the 2023 season. Those are his only two options.
Pittman is one of seven Lions exclusive rights free agents for the 2023 offseason, joining RB Craig Reynolds, TE Brock Wright, TE Shane Zylstra, G Tommy Kraemer, DT Benito Jones, and LS Scott Daly. These players are exclusive rights free agents because their contracts are due to expire next week and they have fewer than three years of NFL experience. Most, if not all, are expected to be back on ERFA tenders in 2023, although there have been no reports on if any of these players received a tender yet.
As for Pittman, he has been a key special teamer for the past two seasons. As we wrote in Pittman’s 2023 free agent profile, his defensive role decreased a little in 2022, but he remained one of the more active players on special teams. His 358 special teams snaps were just one off the team lead (Chris Board with 359). In 2021, Pittman led the Lions with 378 special teams snaps.
Pittman has been with the Lions his entire NFL career. He entered the big leagues in 2019 as an undrafted rookie out of Wayne State University. Back in November, we spoke with Pittman about why Detroit—and the Lions—were so important to him.
“I love the soul, I love the vibe of the city, I love the people. I love being here, being home,” Pittman said. “Two, just growing up seeing the journey of how the Lions have had a tough time winning all these years and how it’s been a struggle, and we finally got some hope winning a couple games these last couple weeks, and (we’re) in a position to maybe get a Wild Card position. So I want to be a part of that renaissance of the Detroit Lions.”
In the past, Pittman has said he turned down offers from other teams to stay in Detroit, and while he didn’t get that option this year, it’s safe to say he’s probably happy to stick around for another season.