That sort of track record would send most players to the cutting room or the trade block, but Burfict isn’t most players.

The team shopped Ebron at the trading deadline and he seemed resigned to the possibility he wouldn’t finish out the year in Detroit, but a deal never came to fruition. It proved fortunate for both sides as he had a strong finish to the campaign, nearly doubling his production from the first half with 35 receptions, 379 yards and three scores the final eight weeks.

The Lions picked up the fifth-year option on Ebron’s contract after the season, a one-year deal that would have become guaranteed at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. The team reportedly continued to field offers throughout the week, but never found a taker. Now he’ll have an opportunity to explore free agency a year early, and should draw serious interest given his skill set and age.

That leaves Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tyler Eifert, who has missed most of the past two seasons because of back injuries, and Martellus Bennett, who was unceremoniously dumped by the Packers last year, in the middle of his first season with the team, as the best remaining options.

That’s why Bengals coach Marvin Lewis flatly said no when asked if he’d consider moving on from Burfict. Tobin echoed those sentiments even if the idea of parting ways with Burfict has come up before.

Do we have conversations on that a lot Sure, we have conversations on that a lot, Tobin said. But at the end of the day we are a player-oriented business and the players are the ones that win or lose for us. We try to collect as many players that can help us win. That’s our job. That’s what we do. That’s our responsibility as an organization: To try to put the best football team on the field that we possibly can.jets_056