Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew met with the media today and answered some questions about his plans for the offseason, specifically about which players he plans on bringing back or letting go.
The most notable thing Mayhew answered was the question about if linebacker Julian Peterson's days in Detroit are done. After being made inactive for the season finale, there has been plenty of speculation that Peterson will be released on the day after the Super Bowl (the first day players can be let go), and today Mahyew confirmed that the Lions will be parting ways with the former Michigan State Spartan.
"We had a meeting on Monday, a great meeting, and I thanked him for his two years of service," Mayhew said. "Anytime you make 31 straight starts for a team, you have given a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make that happen. I thanked him and told him we weren't going to bring him back."
Peterson's contract has him making $8 million next season if he is still on the team, so it's not really surprising that the Lions are going to go in a different direction at linebacker. (Mayhew also said that linebacker Jordon Dizon, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last preseason, likely won't be brought back in 2011.)
Another former Spartan that may not be back next season is quarterback Drew Stanton. He is set to become a free agent, and although Mayhew said the Lions are pleased with his on-field performance this past season, Stanton's issues with injuries are a concern. Mayhew added that a decision on what to do with Stanton hasn't been made yet.
A decision on what to do with the kicker position has also yet to be made. You would think it'd be a given that the kicker job belongs to Jason Hanson, but he has dealt with injuries the last couple years and 2011 would be his 20th season in the league. He kicked well before getting hurt in the Jets game this past season, but Dave Rayner, his replacement, stepped up and kicked quite well for the Lions the last couple months of the season. Mayhew didn't say whether or not Hanson would be fighting for his job next season with someone like Rayner, but he did say that plans for the kicker position are still being formulated.
Another position that may also have plans that still need to be formulated is at fullback. Jerome Felton said earlier this week that he wants to be used more in 2011, even if that means not returning to the Lions. Felton is set to become a restricted free agent this offseason, which means the Lions will have to decide if they want to tender Felton a contract offer. Felton could still sign with another team, but the Lions would have the opportunity to match any offer. They could also trade him or simply not tender him an offer, essentially making him an unrestricted free agent. Mayhew didn't address Felton's status for next season (as far as I know), but it will be interesting to see what the Lions decide to do with him.