Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said Monday night that the team has had "very productive conversations" with free-agent linebacker Stephen Tulloch in recent days, according to the Detroit Free Press.
"We're very hopeful we can reach an agreement with him sometime soon, and we're going to continue to pursue Stephen and try and get Stephen signed," Mayhew said at a town hall meeting for season-ticket holders at Ford Field. "He knows our defense. Coach (Jim) Schwartz is very familiar with him. He's a leader on our football team. He means a lot to our defense, and he's a really key part of what we have going defensively.
"I plan on talking with his agent tonight or tomorrow, and we'll keep trying to get that done."
Tulloch, who had 111 tackles and two interceptions last season for the Lions, is one of the top free-agent linebackers, along with Curtis Lofton, London Fletcher and David Hawthorne. But Mayhew pointed to D'Qwell Jackson's five-year, $42.5 million contract extension with the Cleveland Browns as a reason why a deal with Tulloch has stalled.
"That's been a very, very interesting market, the linebacker market," Mayhew said. "And there are a number of good free agents who are out there right now. I think the D'Qwell Jackson deal was a really big deal, and I think a lot of guys are looking at that and wanting to try to get the same deal."