Defensive end Ziggy Ansah is the Lions' No. 1 free agent, and a prime candidate for the franchise tag. Ansah had 12 sacks last season, but was incredibly inconsistent - he had three three-sack games - as he battled injuries most the year. When healthy, he's a dominant pass rusher, as evidenced by his career-high 14.5-sack season in 2015. But he turns 29 in May, and given his injury history (he's missed time due to ankle, knee and back injuries, and had shoulder surgery a few winters ago), the Lions might be better off spending $17.5 million to lock him up for one season rather than signing him to a long-term deal.
Haloti Ngata says he wants to return for another season, but the Lions won't overpay for a defensive tackle who hasn't played a full season since 2011 and finished last season on injured reserve with a torn biceps.
Safety Tavon Wilson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury on Thanksgiving, but his familiarity with Patricia from their time together in New England could make him a valuable keeper in the secondary. With Teez Tabor ready for an expanded role at cornerback, Nevin Lawson and DJ Hayden might find more money elsewhere after splitting starting duties last season.
Unit-by-unit depth chart as of Super Bowl LII. Injured players listed as starters if that was their status when injured.
*Asterisk indicates player ended 2017 season on injured reserve.
QUARTERBACKS (B): Starter -- Matthew Stafford. Backup -- Jake Rudock.
WIDE RECEIVERS (A-minus): Starters -- Marvin Jones Jr., Golden Tate. Backups -- Kenny Golladay, *TJ Jones, Jace Billingsley, Andy Jones, Bradley Marquez.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (D): Starters -- LT Taylor Decker, LG Graham Glasgow, C *Travis Swanson (UFA), RG T.J. Lang, RT Rick Wagner. Backups -- T Corey Robinson, T Brian Mihalik, T Emmett Cleary, G Joe Dahl, G *Don Barclay (UFA), G *Zac Kerin, T *Greg Robinson (UFA).
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (C-plus): Starters -- DE Ziggy Ansah (UFA), DT A'Shawn Robinson, DT Akeem Spence, DE Anthony Zettel. Backups -- DE *Kerry Hyder, DE *Brandon Copeland (UFA), DE Dwight Freeney (UFA), DE Cornelius Washington, DT *Haloti Ngata (UFA), DT *Jordan Hill (UFA), DT Rodney Coe, DT Jeremiah Ledbetter, DT Christian Ringo.
LINEBACKERS (C-plus): Starters -- OLB Tahir Whitehead (UFA), MLB Jarrad Davis, OLB Paul Worrilow (UFA). Backups -- OLB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, OLB Nick Bellore, OLB Steve Longa, *Brandon Chubb.
DEFENSIVE BACKS (B-plus): Starters -- CB Darius Slay, CB Nevin Lawson (UFA), S Glover Quin, S *Tavon Wilson (UFA). Backups -- CB Teez Tabor, CB DJ Hayden (UFA), CB Jamal Agnew, CB *Desmond Lawrence, S Quandre Diggs, S Charles Washington, S Don Carey (UFA), S Miles Killebrew.
SPECIAL TEAMS (A-minus): K Matt Prater, P Sam Martin, P *Kasey Redfern, KR Ameer Abdullah, PR Jamal Agnew, LS Don Muhlbach.