The Detroit Lions biggest need this offseason is at the wide receiver position, and the pretty obvious Nate Burleson cut strengthened the Lions need to find an impact No. 2 receiver across from Calvin Johnson. Not only was Burleson too expensive at $5.5 million, but age caused him to lack speed; he just couldn’t separate from defensive backs with consistency. Burleson is a steady veteran with reliable hands, but the Lions needed an upgrade at the position anyway.
Tight end Brandon Pettigrew is set to hit the free agent waters this offseason, and keeping him would soften the blow at WR a bit. They would still need a WR2 badly even if Pettigrew is retained, but the former first-round pick out of Oklahoma State would help keep some depth and stability at the position. He isn’t the best or most consistent TE in this league, but he’s decent and can do a little bit of blocking and pass-catching; the Lions would ideally like to keep him around on an affordable deal.
Per the Detroit Free Press’s Dave Birkett, the Lions and Pettigrew’s reps “plan to meet” this week at the Combine, and it will be interesting to see how talks progress. The chances of him being tagged are extremely slim, because Pettigrew simply isn’t good enough to warrant being tagged. He’s good enough to be someone worth re-signing and starting next season, and my gut feeling is that the Lions will be able to re-sign him, even if he decides to test the open market.