ith Jason Hanson still undecided about whether to accept their minimum-salary offer, the Detroit Lions are beginning to entertain options for his replacement.
Next week, the Lions will host kicker David Akers on a free agent visit.
Hanson notified the team earlier this month that he planned on playing a 22nd season, but so far, negotiations have gone nowhere on a new contract. Team president Tom Lewand said at the owners meetings last week there was no guarantee Hanson would return.
“It’s not a system that provides for a lot of allowance for sentimentality,” Lewand said. “We have the utmost respect for Jason and want to have him back, but it’s a situation where everything has to fit.
“The salary cap is a real restraint for all 32 clubs, and we have to operate within that and within our plans. So we’ve had our discussions with Jason and, like I said, we have the utmost respect for him personally and professionally, which is why we want to have him back.”
A second-round pick in 1992, Hanson made 32 of 36 field goals last year, as the league’s oldest player. He’s an unrestricted free agent but has said he’ll only play for the Lions.
Akers, 38, is coming off a down year in which he missed 13 of 42 field goal attempts, but he struggled through a hip injury most of the season.
When healthy at the beginning of last year, Akers tied an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal in the San Francisco 49ers’ season-opening win over the Green Bay Packers. The 49ers released him earlier this month.
The Lions don’t have another kicker on their roster, but they worked out Justin Medlock and Internet kicking sensation Havard Rugland in recent weeks and told punter Blake Clingan that he might handle kickoffs this year.