The biggest on-field change in Detroit will be on the offensive line. The Lions ran more plays against fronts of six or fewer defenders than any team, yet still couldn't create significant running lanes. The entire right side of the line could be replaced after cutting right guard Stephen Peterman and potentially losing free agent tackle Gosder Cherilus. Tackle Riley Reiff played well in spots his rookie year and could take over at right tackle or at left tackle as the team phases out the aging Jeff Backus.
Biggest free agents
» DECliff Avril: Most assume Avril will depart for more money. However, after cutting Kyle Vanden Bosch, the Lions only have one defensive end signed for 2013, Ronnell Lewis (two career tackles). Cuts have opened a bit of cap space and if no team offers him a big contract don't be shocked if he ends up back in Honolulu blue.
What they need
The secondary has been a disaster in Detroit this entire millennium. The last time the Lions had the No. 5 pick in the draft they selected cornerback Bryant Westbrook in 1997. The last time they took a defensive back in the first round was the following season, Terry Fair. (Smash cut to Lions fans cringing). With Delmas likely exiting and Amari Spievey missing most of 2012 with injuries, they could be in the market for two safeties along with upgrades at the corners.
Offseason crystal ball
With just $3 million of cap space, general manager Martin Mayhew will have to hit on his draft picks, which he hasn't done the last couple of years. A defensive end is the best bet at No. 5 and finding secondary help in later rounds is a must. The Lions would be better off bringing back defensive ends Jackson and restricted free agent Willie Young than spending big on Avril.
Mayhew will chase a change-of-pace running back either through the draft or free agency. Reggie Bush is the hot name, but with a horde of free agents to sign they aren't likely to spend big at that position.
Cutting a troublemaker like Young Sr. was a good step toward changing the culture, but don't expect it to be the final snuffing. There will be a short leash for the Lions in 2013.