By Michael RothsteinESPN Staff Writer
2018 cap hits of top returnees:
Eric Ebron: $8.25 million
Michael Roberts: $704,811
Hakeem Valles: $555,000
Brandon Barnes: $480,000
Pending free agents: Darren Fells
Key stat: After a rough first half of the 2017 season, Ebron appeared to play like the first-round pick Martin Mayhew and Jim Caldwell always hoped he'd be, finishing the season with 53 catches for 574 yards and four touchdowns. Of course, Mayhew was long gone by then, and Caldwell was let go following the season. Ebron, the No. 10 overall pick in 2014, remains.
Money matters: Other than Ebron, who is on a non-guaranteed fifth-year option, there's minimal money in the position. Roberts is in his second year of a rookie contract. If Detroit wanted to spend capital here, it should -- and that could include bringing back Fells, who did his job as a blocking tight end last year. Fells also won't be a bank-breaker.
Big picture: Detroit needs to figure out what it wants to do long-term with Ebron. ESPN Insider Adam Schefter reported Tuesday night that Ebron's name came up in possible trade discussion at the combine -- the second time in six months his name has been floated to be on the move. The Lions had fielded calls about a potential Ebron deal around last season's trade deadline, too. Schefter reported Tuesday night that the "Lions were listening." Ebron responded to this on social media with an...