Detroit Lions: 10 Players Who Could Be Gone in 2016

7 of 11

Oct 19, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell talks to outside linebacker Tahir Whitehead (59) during the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Tahir Whitehead

Unlike the others on this list so far, Tahir Whitehead is not under contract for 2016. If he was, there wouldn’t be any reason to put him here, even considering his unexplained benching earlier this season.

Whitehead performed well in relief of the injured Stephen Tulloch last season and has played well as the Lions defense has returned to form, which coincidentally or not, coincides with Whitehead receiving more playing time.

There has never been any clear answers for why Travis Lewis was playing over Whitehead earlier in the season but one has to wonder if the situation will lead to Whitehead taking a bigger interest in his options in free agency. Whitehead has said and done all the right things but it would be human nature to have the odd situation over playing time sour him on the idea of staying with the Lions.

Hopefully it hasn’t and Whitehead will return in 2016, but he won’t be a candidate for the franchise tag so he’ll get a shot at free agency. Will he find a suitor who values him more than the Lions have shown?

Next: Haloti Ngata