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Sheldon White noncommittal on Stafford, Johnson

The recent housecleaning in the Lions' front office has raised questions about the futures of quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson in Detroit.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport recently reported that Stafford's future was already very much in doubt before the front office firings and the dismissal of offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.

Interim general manager Sheldon White was noncommittal Thursday at his introductory news conference when asked about the futures of Stafford and Johnson.

"I'll leave that to another day," White said, via the Detroit Free Press.

Although White wouldn't give a definitive answer, he did strongly suggest that both players would be in his plans if he keeps the job going forward.

"Those guys are awesome," White said of Stafford and Johnson. "They're awesome. The things that I have to do on my end, in my opinion those guys are ultra-talented. I have to continue to surround them and continue to build our roster and you'll see all the talents that those guys have. And they are unbelievable."

The question isn't whether Stafford and Johnson are ultra-talented. It's whether the Lions can build a consistent winner around the talents and salaries of the high-priced duo. To this point, the answer has been a resounding "no."

If the Lions identify a quarterback they like near the top of the 2016 NFL Draft, they can escape Stafford's contract with an $11 million cap hit.

More likely, quarterback-needy coaches would line up for an opportunity to refine the talents of the 27-year-old rifle-armed signal-caller. Either way, we would not expect the Lions to move on from Stafford without a replacement in the building.

One of the greatest players in franchise history, Johnson's future seems more stable. He's due to collect a $15.95 million base salary next year, with an eye-opening $24 million cap hit.

With the organization once again in rebuilding mode, Lions fans should brace for months of speculation leading up to next year's draft.

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