The Detroit Lions Play the Cornerback Shuffle: Waive Kevin Barnes and Claim Jerome Murphy

By Tina Musial

The cornerback shuffle continues in Detroit. On Tuesday, the Detroit Lions claimed cornerback Jerome Murphy from the New Orleans Saints after they released him Monday afternoon. To make room for him on the roster, the Lions released Kevin Barnes after giving up a conditional draft pick to the Washington Redskins in order to get him. Barnes was only in Detroit for three weeks and saw limited playing time in both of the games this season.

Why does this transaction have Lions fans shaking their heads and wondering what is going on?

The Saints only had Murphy on their roster for three weeks or so. Before that, he was on the roster with the St. Louis Rams, who chose him as a second round pick back in 2010. His rookie year stats were good with 30 tackles and one interception. Then he was sidelined all of 2011 after breaking his ankle in training camp.

Which means the Lions picked up a cornerback who was out all of last year with an injury. Aren’t they already plagued with injuries in this position and desperate to find someone reliable who isn’t prone to a leg, ankle or other injury? Why Murphy? Why not someone who hasn’t suffered an injury and sat out an entire season? Did Murphy show some awesome footwork in the three weeks he spent in New Orleans that Detroit couldn’t live without? (If it was awesome, the Saints surely would have kept him as they are in a more desperate situation than the Lions are in). Was three weeks really enough time to get a feel for Barnes’ abilities and what he could have brought to the Lions?

Then there is still the issue of who else is getting cut in order for Mikel Leshoure to show up at practice tomorrow. He has been reinstated, but he cannot practice until the Lions release someone else to keep their roster at 53 men. Joique Bell was rumored to be the cornerback most likely to go in order for this to happen. However, with the sudden and unexpected departure of Barnes and subsequent  claiming of Murphy, it is anyone’s guess as what might happen next and who stays as the cornerback shuffle plays out.

All of this shuffling in the secondary might be doing more harm than good. No wonder the Lions are struggling, as they have yet to get to know the person standing next to them. As soon as they do begin to form a rapport, someone gets released and another new body is brought in. A little solidity would go a long way to making the defense stronger, and in turn the whole team will be stronger.


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