The Lions will bring back exclusive rights free agents Kris Durham and Jeremy Ross, GM Martin Mayhew confirmed to reporters in Indianapolis today (Twitter link via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com). The two receivers have fewer than three accrued NFL seasons, meaning re-upping with the Lions is essentially their only option this offseason.
Durham, a fourth-round pick in 2011, became a more significant part of the Lions’ offense in 2013, racking up 38 receptions, 490 receiving yards, and a pair of touchdowns while starting 13 games. He didn’t perform well based on Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required), which ranked him 109th out of 111 qualified receivers, but he’s still just 25 years old, and may not be relied upon for quite as large a role in 2014 if the team adds a receiver or two.
As for Ross, the 25-year-old caught five passes for the Lions after being waived by the Packers earlier in the 2013 season. However, most of his value stemmed from his production as a return man. Ross brought back 17 punts (15.5 AVG, one TD) and 21 kicks (24.5 AVG, one TD) for the club in 10 contests.
Neither player appears to have officially inked a contract yet, but considering they have minimal leverage, minimum-salary contracts seem likely, perhaps with modest signing bonuses.