<
>

Calvin Johnson, Darius Slay should be hot topics for Lions at combine

Bob Quinn is heading down to Indianapolis this week for his first NFL combine as a general manager. Decisions on who to invest time in, who to select and who to target will ultimately come down to him.

He’s also expected to be available to the media this week for the first time since the Senior Bowl and for only the third time since taking over the Detroit Lions’ general manager duties. Since then, he’s cut some well-known veterans, kept Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff and retooled the front office.

So there are some things to discuss. Between Quinn and the combine, here are things to potentially track this week.

1. Calvin Johnson: Team president Rod Wood said on local radio last week that the start of the new league year wouldn’t necessarily be a deadline for knowing what Johnson is going to do. However, Wood is not the one making the football decisions. That’s Quinn, who likely would benefit from knowing what Johnson’s final plan is as soon as possible. Until the Lions know for sure what is going to happen, they’ll have to operate with contingency plans. Expect this to be a big topic with Quinn when he reaches the podium, and with Johnson’s agent, Bus Cook, if he is spotted in Indianapolis.

2.Figuring out the top tackles: While the Lions have free agency to go before the draft, Detroit would be well-advised to spend time digging in with some of the top offensive and defensive tackles at the combine. Those are two positions where Detroit needs to find long-term solutions. It could be worth investing significant time in, considering the overhaul at defensive tackle the past two seasons and the issues with keeping quarterback Matthew Stafford upright along with a rough running game.

3.Why the front office changes: Quinn addressed some of them already, but he’ll definitely be asked about the qualities he’s been trying to line up with his front office personnel. He could be asked why the Lions moved on from Sheldon White as well, considering White is a respected NFL personnel man who was pivotal in a lot of good decisions the franchise made over the past half-decade. There are definitely questions to be answered as to why he’s selected certain people for certain roles.

4.Free-agency decisions: In years past, former general manager Martin Mayhew would be pretty clear at the combine about free agents the Lions would try to retain and those they would move on from. It’s not clear how Quinn is going to handle this, although the team has already made some moves, releasing Joique Bell and informing Stephen Tulloch he’d be released. A lot of free-agent conversations, particularly with a team’s own free agents, happen at the combine so this should be something to watch the next few days.

5.Contract extensions: Don’t expect anything to necessarily get done with Darius Slay (or others) at the combine, but conversations about an extension between Quinn and Slay’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, are expected to happen in Indianapolis. Slay is the next big signing for the Lions and should be in line for a lucrative contract.