Since the start of the NFL off-season, the Detroit Lions have made several cuts that will impact their plans in free agency and the 2013 NFL Draft. One move the Lions should now be thinking about is re-signing offensive lineman Gosder Cherilus.
Technically, Cherilus is an unrestricted free agent. The Lions will have time on their side to re-sign him as there are several key free agents and top draft picks at offensive lineman. Detroit should make an offer to the five-year lifetime Lion. Last season, Cherilus was paid over $4 million, including bonuses, with a base salary of $2.3 million. The free agent lineman is likely looking for a three or four year deal in the neighborhood of $4 million per season.
Last season, Cherilus started all 16 games. Since he was drafted, he has played in all but eight NFL games and played in all 16 the last two seasons. He has mainly played right guard and is a staple on the line.
The Lions offensive line remains a priority for the team this offseason. The team already cut lineman Stephen Peterman. There are also rumors circling around that theu will cut center Dominic Raiola. There also remains the uncertainty that Jeff Backus may not return for his final year with Detroit. The Lions need to sign Cherilus to solidify some experience and depth on their line.
Cherilus is considered one of the best free agents on the market, but will likely not see action until after the draft. He is moving up the charts as one of the best and most affordable offensive lineman options. At Boston College, he was responsible for protecting Matt Ryan and helped Ryan and the team break records at the school.
In 2012, Cherilus allowed five sacks and committed nine penalties. This ranked towards the high end in his career. Despite giving up five sacks, he was part of an offensive line that protected the number one passing offense in the league.