Lions: Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson Not Only Players with Uncertain Futures

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Nov 27, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions tight end

Brandon Pettigrew

(87) makes a catch and gets away from Chicago Bears cornerback

Kyle Fuller

(23) during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Pettigrew

The four-year, $16 million contract Brandon Pettigrew signed prior to last season was a head-scratcher from the very beginning. It felt like an overpay at the time and looks that way even more with Pettigrew’s shrinking role in the offense.

We’re a long way away from the career highs of 83 receptions and 777 yards Pettigrew put up in 2011 and while he often gets credit for contributing as a blocker, his aptitude in that area is not always validated in his grades from Pro Football Focus.

Even if he was an elite blocking tight end, that doesn’t warrant an average of $4 million per season. There was clearly something about Pettigrew the old regime loved, but don’t count on a new general manager who didn’t draft Pettigrew to feel the same way.

2015 marks the final year of guaranteed money in Pettigrew’s contract so all the Lions have to deal with to move on halfway through his contract is $2 million in dead money against next season’s cap, leaving $2.65 million in cap space to play with.

Next: A Running Back