ALLEN PARK — With NFL free agency hours away, the Detroit Lions have plenty of their own players who can hit the open market.
Before today, they signed kicker Matt Prater and quarterback Kellen Moore.
The official time to sign free agents is 4:01 p.m., today.
Defensive tackles Nick Fairley and C.J. Mosley are options to bring back. Fairley has had some interest from other clubs including the Colts. Andre Fluellen will likely be back at one point.
Also on the defensive line, George Johnson was a valuable part of the defensive end rotation. The Lions have placed the original round tender on the restricted free agent. He can negotiate with other teams but the Lions have the right to match.
Cornerback Rashean Mathis, 34, wants to return and even if he doesn’t start like the last two years he’s versatile enough to play in the slot. His veteran leadership is key to helping younger guys like Darius Slay.
Safety Isa Abdul-Quddus, who excels at special teams, proved he could play last season when injuries led to him playing defense.
Guard Rob Sims wants to return, but the Lions have not said if they want him back. They told Dominic Raiola a month ago they would not re-sign him.
Also on the offensive line, Garrett Reynolds started games at guard and tackle in 2014. The coaches like his versatility. Tackle Corey Hilliard missed most of the season with a Lis-Franc foot injury. He’s experienced, but he has trouble staying healthy.
Ashlee Palmer could be a valuable part of the coverage units on special teams. He can also fill on as an outside linebacker.
Jeremy Ross has signed an exclusive rights deal and will compete for the return job along with fourth or fifth wide receiver.
Others who were on the Lions’ 2014 roster who can become free agents today include: Linebacker Josh Bynes, fullback Jed Collins, tight end Kellen Davis, cornerback Cassius Vaughn and cornerback Josh Thomas.