Lions expected to deal with re-signing Brandon Pettigrew as a top priority
Pettigrew not only excels as a blocker but he can also play all three downs. The soon to be 29-year-old also had 70-plus catch seasons twice during his early career. This past season, Pettigrew rarely came off the field as he was heavily relied on as a receiver due to injuries and lack of experience/success at the position.
He is expected to be among the top tight ends during free agency. Dennis Pitta, Tony Gonzalez (depending on whether he chooses to play another season) and Jermichael Finley (depending on his fitness) are also expected to make the list.
The Lions already have tight ends Joseph Fauria and Michael Williams under contract, in addition to control of restricted free agent Dorin Dickerson and also have exclusive rights to free agent Matt Veldman. But new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi’s description of the ideal tight end this week seemed to suggest that Pettigrew would fit very well in the Lions’ new offense, even though there has been no serious contract discussions with the player to this point.
“I think it’s important to have a guy that can block at the point of attack. That’s important. And then you want a guy that can be a pass receiver, so you’re always looking for those well-rounded guys,” Joe Lombardi said on Friday, via the Detroit Free Press. “But again, I’ve never been in the mode of I wanted to find exactly what this player is and then you have to go find him for me. Go find the best player you can.”
That is why the Lions could be in a rush to re-sign Pettigrew before the onset of free agency. However, the Lions are in a tight cap situation and will first have to clear some salary cap space before they can re-sign Pettigrew to a new deal.