Lions Notes: Iloka, Ngata, Reiff, Ansah, Taylor

The Lions plan to target Bengals safety George Iloka when the free agent period begins Match 9, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Cincinnati director of pro personnel Duke Tobin recently said his club would be “proactive” when it comes to re-signing Iloka and the team’s other free agents, but there’s no question the 25-year-old Iloka is set up for a big payday. PFR’s Connor Byrne pointed to Iloka as a possible solution for the Lions at safety in his recent preview of Detroit’s offseason.

Here’s the latest out of the Motor City, all courtesy of Birkett:

  • Free agent defensive lineman Haloti Ngata is “increasingly likely” to return to Detroit, per Birkett. The two sides reportedly aren’t far off in negotiations, and the Lions and Ngata’s representatives have until March 9 to work out what Birkett terms a “bridgeable gap.”
  • While general manager Bob Quinn last week said that Riley Reiff will remain with the Lions at $8MM+ salary, Birkett says that is not an indication the the club is sold on Reiff as its left tackle of the future. Quinn, in fact, would like to upgrade the position, but it’s unlikely that Detroit will be able to find a better option on the free agent market.
  • There’s no indication that the Lions will work out extensions with defensive lineman Ziggy Ansah or Devin Taylor this offseason, according to Birkett. Of course, the club doesn’t need to be in any rush, as it controls both players through the 2016 season (and realistically, through 2017 for Ansah, as Detroit hold a fifth-year option on the defensive end).
  • Punter Sam Martin, like Ansah and Taylor a member of the Lions’ 2013 draft class, has changed agents, which could be a sign that he wants a new deal, writes Birkett.
  • The Lions will be in the market for a receiver if Calvin Johnson follows through on retirement, and Birkett hears that the top free agent pass-catchers — outside of the franchise-tagged Alshon Jeffery, the class is headed by Travis Benjamin and Marvin Jones — are expected to target $6MM per year. For what it’s worth, a report earlier this month indicated that Jones would actually look for $7MM annually.
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