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NFL Detroit Lions

5 Detroit Lions Storylines to Follow Leading Up to Free Agency

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5 Detroit Lions Storylines to Follow Leading Up to Free Agency

5 Detroit Lions Storylines Before Free Agency
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions had the NFC North title right in their grasp last season, and it seemed like the Lions would be division champions for the first time since 1993 after a 6-3 start. Unfortunately, the team finished 1-6 to end the season, ultimately finishing in third place in the division. With no postseason appearances in back to back seasons, the Lions entered this offseason with plenty of questions that needed to be addressed.

The Lions have answered some of these already. Gone are embattled head coach Jim Schwartz and coordinators Scott Linehan and Gunther Cunningham. In comes new coach Jim Caldwell, who was formerly the Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator, as well as former New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi as offensive coordinator and former Ravens secondary coach Teryl Austin as defensive coordinator.

In terms of player movement, the Lions released veterans Louis Delmas and Nate Burleson, saving the team around $11 million this offseason. The Lions were not done there as the team also released disappointing kicker David Akers and several backup veterans.

With free agency starting next week, the Lions will need to address a few more questions during this period. While the main storyline surrounds defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and the new contract he is currently seeking, I have focused my attention on some other key storylines that the Lions should be addressing.

With many different scenarios and events that have to be played out before the 2014 Detroit Lions hit free agency, here are five storylines that are worth following.

Brian Kalchik is a writer for rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and connect with him on Google.

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5. Who Will Be The Lions' Next Kicker?

Kicker
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

After trying to replace longtime kicker Jason Hanson last season, Akers was released after having one of the worst seasons of his career. While the Lions have John Potter on their roster, the team most certainly will be looking for a veteran kicker to fill in at that position.

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4. Who Else Will Be Cut?

Who Elese Will Be Cut
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

While the Lions cleared up some cap space earlier this offseason with the releases of Burleson and Delmas, don't expect the team to stop there. In the effort to rebuild this roster in Caldwell's image, some of Schwartz's guys will likely not be back in Detroit this season.

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3. Will The Franchise Tag Be Used?

Franchise Tag
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Aside from unrestricted free agent Brandon Pettigrew and restricted free agent Joique Bell, there are not a lot of worthy candidates who warrant being given the franchise tag. There is a real possibility that the Lions won't have to use it this offseason.

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2. Can The Team Match Offers For Joique Bell?

Can The Lions Match What Is Offered To Joique Bell?
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Teams in need of a franchise running back around the NFL will certainly be looking to Detroit and Bell. With the Lions already having Reggie Bush on the roster, the team will have to think long and hard about matching an offer for Bell if it is too pricey.

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1. Will Team Attempt To Re-Sign Brandon Pettigrew?

Brandon Pettigrew
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Pettigrew is now the best remaining free agent tight end in this free agency class after Jimmy Graham was tagged by the Saints. Given Pettigrew's inconsistent play the past few seasons and the emergence of undrafted free agent Joseph Fauria, the Lions will have think about offering Pettigrew another contract.