Lions signed all three coordinators to contract extensions

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is focused on retaining the key players and coaches from the group that made the team's first playoff appearance since 1999.

Mayhew met with reporters Thursday, saying this offseason will probably be his most challenging since he started making football decisions for the franchise.

Mayhew has already started the process, signing all three coordinators -- Gunther Cunningham (defense), Scott Linehan (offense) and Danny Crossman (special teams) -- to new contracts, according to the team's official site.

The signings took place months ago, according to the team, but were announced by Mayhew on Thursday.

Mayhew has contract extensions for All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson and head coach Jim Schwartz among his offseason priorities. He also wants to re-sign offensive tackle Jeff Backus, defensive end Cliff Avril, linebacker Stephen Tulloch and backup quarterback Shaun Hill.

"I think we have an opportunity to work on that this offseason," Mayhew said about Johnson's extension, according to MLive.com. "I don't think it's something that absolutely has to be done, but we have an opportunity to work on it."

Johnson had his best season in 2011, finishing with career highs in receptions (96), yards (1,681) and touchdowns (16). According to MLive.com, Johnson is entering the final season of a contract that will pay him $14 million next season.

"I'm not going to suggest a pay cut for him," Mayhew said, per the report.

Schwartz is also entering the final year of a four-year contract he signed prior to the 2009 season.

"We plan to start to work on that in the next couple weeks or so," Mayhew told reporters about the Schwartz deal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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