Lions tender three exclusive-rights free agents

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

The Detroit Lions tendered a trio of exclusive-rights free agents, keeping punter Jack Fox, fullback Jason Cabinda and offensive tackle Matt Nelson in the fold ahead of the beginning of the new league year. 

Lions punter Jack Fox was a Pro Bowl selection.

A player is considered an exclusive-rights free agent if they are on an expiring contract and have fewer than three accrued seasons. The tender is a one-year, veteran minimum contract and prohibits those players from negotiating with other teams. 

Fox is coming off a stellar debut season, setting the franchise records for both gross and net punting. His 44.8-yard net average was second only to New England's Jake Bailey, who set the NFL record with a 45.6-yard average in 2020. 

Fox earned NFL special teams player of the month for September and was named to the Pro Bowl at season's end

Cabinda joined the Lions in 2019. Originally a member of the team's practice squad, he was promoted to the main roster and had a significant special teams role down the stretch of that season.

Last year, after fullback Nick Bawden suffered a season-ending injury, Cabinda switched positions. A former high school running back, he was on the field 120 offensive plays, while working nearly 60% of Detroit's special teams snaps. 

Nelson similarly made a position switch for Detroit. The collegiate defensive lineman converted to offensive tackle as an undrafted rookie in 2019, before earning a roster spot for the 2020 season.

Injuries ahead of him on the depth chart pressed Nelson into action during multiple games last season, including his first start, against Green Bay.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers