Lions hang on to Hyder, Copeland, TJ Jones
Allen Park — The Detroit Lions have tendered the team’s three exclusive-rights free agents, keeping defensive ends Kerry Hyder and Brandon Copeland and wide receiver TJ Jones on the roster.
An exclusive-rights free agent is a player with two or fewer accrued seasons and the tender locks them in at a veteran minimum salary. This year, that’s $615,000.
That’s a bargain, especially for Hyder, who led the team with eight sacks in 2016. The breakout performer is expected to continue playing a significant role on the defensive line next year.
Copeland is a special-teams standout who plays sparingly on defense in a handful of sub-packages, while also offering an emergency option at linebacker.
Jones, a sixth-round draft pick in 2014, has played sparingly the past two seasons, catching 15 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown in 13 games. Depending on what the Lions do in free agency and the draft, Jones will enter training camp competing for both receiving snaps and return man roles.