The next big thing: Lions

Now that the Detroit Lions have hired their coach and are in the latter stages of assembling a staff, both head coach Jim Caldwell and the front office can look toward free agency, which begins in March.

The Lions likely won't be massive players here this season, unlike last year when they brought in Reggie Bush and Glover Quin, but they should make some moves. The biggest players to pay attention to, in some respect, are two of their own free-agent veterans. The club needs to make decisions whether to try and bring back center Dominic Raiola and tight end Brandon Pettigrew.

Raiola seems like an easy choice. He wants to return. He'll likely take less money to return and if Detroit does bring him back, it keeps its entire offensive line from last season intact. Plus, by bringing Raiola in and potentially drafting a replacement for him in May, he can spend a season or two mentoring the younger player.

Pettigrew is the more interesting question, and it might come down to how much Caldwell values what Pettigrew can bring as a tight end versus what other options exist in free agency or the draft.