Lions set free-agent sights on offensive help

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Nate Caminata -

After releasing three defensive starters last Thursday to fit within their allowed cap budget, the Detroit Lions have now turned to the offensive.

More specifically, towards the wide receiver and tight end positions.

The ball club already met with Indianapolis Colts' tight end Ken Dilger, who is among the most elite free-agent prospects in a dismal cast, and has also displayed a strong interest in Minnesota Vikings' tight end Byron Chamberlain. However, with Chris Carter's imminent signing with the St. Louis Rams, the Vikings may be forced to enter a bidding war to not only retain Chamberlain's services, but prevent another offensive defection to an NFC rival.

If this proves valid, don't expect the Lions to offer the bank to Chamberlain. The Carter situation, however, leaves another possibility for Detroit: Rams' free-agent wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim

According to league sources, St. Louis may shy away from attempting to re-sign Hakim. The Lions, meanwhile, have made it no secret they are going to make a run for Hakim, and are reportedly working out a contract for the speedy flanker. It is essential Detroit adds a quick route runner to their offensive arsenal, and Hakim's speed alone could have head coach Marty Mornhinweg dreaming of his West Coast Offense potential.

After re-signing running back Lamont Warren to lower contract, opening up salary cap room, the agent of Titans' running back Skip Hicks, Howard Silber, has stated he expects Detroit to enter the competition for his client. ''I think Houston, Carolina, Miami, Detroit, Arizona, Atlanta -- all are going to get in Skip's race,'' Silber told the Tennessean. Despite baiting him in the expansion draft, the Lions have stated relatively faithful to running back James Stewart, although they are working on restructuring his contract. The team did not comment on the Tennessean's report.

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