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NFL Detroit Lions

5 Detroit Lions Veterans Most Likely To Become Cap Casualties

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5 Detroit Lions Veterans Most Likely To Be Cap Casualties

Martin Mayhew's Handling Of The Salary Cap Will Determine His Job Status
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions will have something in common with every other NFL team this offseason. Each year, teams jettison salaries of established NFL veterans in order to find younger and cheaper upgrades, or to give more money to other high-priority free agents that the team wants to keep. With the Lions a full $5 million over the expected salary cap in 2014, these decisions not only will help the Lions stay inside the cap number, but will directly impact how the Lions will attempt to win the NFC North for the first time in 20 years.

The shedding of veteran salaries has been a common practice in recent years as teams start to look towards the future. Because the NFL is a business, teams don't have to be emotionally attached to players who they thought could bring success to their franchise.

For the Detroit Lions, their salary cap situation is currently in flux. Three players who are all former top-two draft picks, Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh, account for 10 percent of the Lions' cap figure, with Suh wanting a big extension.

A new coaching staff coming into Detroit will make the cuts necessary to stay under the cap while not alienating anyone, as all of the players were under the Jim Schwartz regime. The time is right to rid these veteran players before the scouting combine as the Lions try to set their draft board. These cuts will help to not only get under the cap, but will also allow the Lions to restructure some other bad contracts.

General manager Martin Mayhew, who is on the hot seat now, would be smart in selecting these five veteran players as the best candidates to cut because the salaries don't match the on-field performance.

Brian Kalchik is a writer for rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and connect with him on Google.

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5. C.J. Mosley, Defensive Tackle

C.J. Mosley
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions would be better off finding another backup defensive tackle than keeping C.J. Mosley. He will be making $1.55 million in 2014, and for a nine-year journeyman who only made 11 tackles last year, this decision should be quick and easy.

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4. Leroy Harris, Interior Offensive Line

Leroy Harris
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Reserve offensive lineman Leroy Harris signed a two-year, $3 million deal last offseason and was frankly a waste of a roster space. He is due to make $1.85 million in 2014, and in today's NFL, no backup offensive lineman is worth $1.85 million per season.

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3. Jason Jones, Defensive End

Jason Jones
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Before injuring his knee in the Week 3 win over Washington, Jason Jones was supposed to be the replacement for Cliff Avril. Jones signed a free agent deal in 2013, reuniting him with now former coach Jim Schwartz. Cutting Jones saves the Lions $2 million in 2014 and over $3 million in 2015.

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2. Louis Delmas, Safety

Louis Delmas
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Safety Louis Delmas has had one season in which he played the full 16 games. He gets injured far too often and is too undisciplined on an already struggling Lions' secondary. Cutting Delmas saves the Lions $5.5 million this offseason, leaving the team with no choice but to do so right now and find a new safety to play alongside Glover Quin.

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1. Nate Burleson, Wide Receiver

Nate Burleson
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receiver Nate Burleson ended his Lions career after breaking his arm trying to save a pizza in his car. In 2013, Burleson only had one touchdown on 39 receptions, not worthy of a no. 2 wide receiver. He is set to make $5.5 million in 2014, making him the most obvious cut to make this offseason for the Lions.