ALLEN PARK - The Detroit Lions named Jeff Backus their franchise player, allowing Backus, a five-year veteran from the University of Michigan to test the free agent market but with limited mobility.
The team used the non-exclusive franchise tag meaning that Backus must be offered the average of the top five salaries made by tackles in the 2005 season. Any team that signs Backus to a contract offer sheet must allow the Lions the opportunity to match their offer within 10 days and if the club elects not to match it, the new team must surrender to Detroit two first round draft picks.
While Backus will get to test the market it is highly unlikely that he will garner any interest. Backus was the 18th overall pick in the 2001 NFL draft and despite starting 80 consecutive games for the club, has never been named to the NFC Pro Bowl roster.