Lions, TE Brandon Pettigrew agree on 4-year, $16 million deal

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

TE Brandon Pettigrew is now signed through 2017. (USATSI)
TE Brandon Pettigrew is now signed through 2017. (USATSI)

More NFL offseason: Mock Drafts | Prospect Rankings | Pro Days | Top free agents

Tight end Brandon Pettigrew is returning to the Lions on a deal that will pay him $16 million over four years, the team announced Friday.

The 2009 first-round pick was a free agent for less than three days before rejoining the only NFL team he has played ever for. In five seasons, Pettigrew started 68 games, logged 284 receptions for 2,828 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. But the former Oklahoma State star is known more for his blocking ability than his pass-catching skills.

"I think it's important to have a guy that can block the point of attack," offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said of the tight end position last month. "Then you want a guy that can be a pass receiver, so you're always looking for those well-rounded guys.”

But the perception that Pettigrew was an adept all-around blocker didn't match reality, at least not last season. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Pettigrew ranked 55th out of 64 among all NFL tight ends overall, was just 48th as a run-blocking tight end, though he did rank seventh in pass-blocking.

Using Football Outsiders' advanced metrics, Pettigrew ranked 48th in total value among tight ends, ahead of only Jermaine Gresham, Garrett Graham and Logan Paulsen.

Either way, he returns to one of the NFL's most dynamic offenses, a group that recently added wide receiver Golden Tate.

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