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Lions hang on to Hyder, Copeland, TJ Jones

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

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.

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

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