Jason Hanson, third in NFL history in points and field goals made, has been with the Lions 21 seasons. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News)
Phoenix — The Lions and Jason Hanson, the most decorated kicker in franchise history, are not getting any closer on a new contract.
"We are waiting to hear back and then we will see where we are," Lions president Tom Lewand said during a break from the NFL owners meetings Tuesday. "We've had discussions ever since Jason indicated he wanted to play this year."
The Lions have yet to offer Hanson anything more than the veteran's minimum. Hanson, the franchise's scoring leader and the NFL's leader in field goals of 40-plus yards, made close to $3 million last season.
"They haven't made an offer that's interesting to us," said Jack Mills, Hanson's agent. "So we don't see any urgency about trying to make a deal."
Hanson, third in NFL history in points and field goals made, has been with the Lions 21 seasons. No other kicker in league history has been with one franchise that long. Yet, that longevity and loyalty isn't much leverage against the salary cap.
"It's not a system that provides a lot of allowance for sentimentality," Lewand said. "We have the utmost respect for Jason and we want to have him back. But it's a situation where everything has to fit. The salary cap is a real restraint for all 32 clubs. We have to operate within our plan."
To this point, the Lions have spent more than $83 million dollars on free agents since last Tuesday. Through various contract restructures and player releases, they were able to trim some $27 million off the cap.
Lewand said he has been in negotiations with several other free agents, both the team's and others. Lawrence Jackson and Corey Williams are both presumed to be among them.
Hanson's consistency has not waned over the years, though he will turn 43 in June. The team's only stated concern, performance-wise, has been the depth on kickoffs. To that end, they have been searching for a punter who can also handle kickoffs. They have signed Blake Clingan, who will be given a chance to handle kickoffs.
"Right now we don't feel too good about this," Mills said. "I am going to wait to hear back from Jason and then go back to the Lions. I don't really know where we're going to end up."