NFL Detroit Lions

5 Detroit Lions Who Shouldn’t Be Back in 2014

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Detroit Lions Who Should Not Be Back in 2014

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions face an important season for their franchise in 2014. With the firing of Jim Schwartz and the hiring of the new head coach Jim Caldwell, the Lions now need to focus more attention on the players.

There were some great signs of talent on the Lions this season, but also some unbelievable flubs by veterans and rookies. Some players looked like they belonged on a team heading to the playoffs, some looked like they could use some better coaching, but some looked like they needed some time making a steady paycheck on a low-caliber team somewhere else.

These are not all bad players, but some are for sure playing below their potential. A few of these players just don’t fit well with the lions anymore, and some just don’t play like professional football players, and never have.

The Lions have salary cap issues, and there’s no getting around that without making deals. Nate Burleson has already acknowledged that he would be willing to take a pay cut to stay on the Lions. A statement that officially turned me completely around on Burleson. I might have put him on this list otherwise, but that’s a classy, professional, refreshing and a great team player move. So Burleson stays off this list, and in my opinion should stay on the Lions.

For the players who did find their way on this list, it’s time to figure out a better option. A few of these guys could stay if it wasn’t for money, so maybe they should take a hint and a page out of Nate Burleson’s book of reason. Otherwise, it’s time to hit the road.

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Brandon Pettigrew

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Pettigrew has been a solid player, but with the Lions’ new running game, the short yardage plays that Pettigrew used to be good for are now not as important. Plus, with players like Joseph Fauria, Kris Durham and Dorin Dickerson, who also bring size on the field and decent hands, Pettigrew is worth more in cap space and on the trade market.

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Mikel Leshoure

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Joique Bell and Reggie Bush are all the running backs the Lions need, and either one could carry the load of an entire game if one gets injured. Theo Riddick is good enough to provide backup, and can make plays in the passing game. The Lions are going to pass the ball a lot, even with a great running attack, so a large stable of running backs is pointless. Leshoure is not a bad back, so he might gain some interest from other teams.

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Willie Young

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Willie Young is an older defensive end and is just not cutting it. For his age and the money he’s getting paid, it’s not worth keeping him around. The defensive line is young and powerful as is, and Ndamukong Suh should be taking on a veteran’s role soon, as long as he has the right coaching.

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Chris Houston

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This one is annoying. He is a severely underperforming, highly paid, under contract secondary player for the Lions. There are decent, young secondary players waiting in the wings, and the Lions will no doubt draft a DB in 2014. Unfortunately, from a money standpoint, he is worth more to the Lions if he stays on the team. If they can find someone to take over some or all of his contract, that would be ideal. However, despite the fact that he “should” go, I don’t think he will.

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Louis Delmas

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Keeping with the secondary theme, because that was arguably the Lions’ biggest weakness, Delmas is more of a headache than he’s worth. He blows coverage, picks up dumb penalties and simply is not the caliber of player the Lions need when pushing for the playoffs. His salary can be put to better use, no question about it. The Lions still need their Richard Sherman.