Going into the offseason, the Detroit Lions knew they would have some tough decisions to make regarding the personnel. Today they made two big moves regarding their roster by releasing wide receiver Nate Burleson and safety Louis Delmas.
The two moves saved the team a total of $11.5 million in cap room, allowing them to have some flexibility moving forward. It is likely that the Lions will use this flexibility to sign their All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a new contract, but that is yet to be determined. Suh could also be traded, especially if his new consultant Jay-Z asks for a large sum of money for his client like he did with Robinson Cano. If the Lions decide to trade Suh, they could save even more money and likely get a few draft picks in return. The Lions would likely command a 1st and 3rd round pick for him.
Burleson missed seven games last season after breaking his arm trying to save a pizza from falling out of his car seat. With his release, it seems as though the Lions will almost certainly take a wide receiver with their first pick (No. 10 overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft. Some names that come to mind with that pick are Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and Marqise Lee. They could also try and sign a receiver via free agency. Some notable free agent receivers include Eric Decker, Jeremy Maclin, Hakeem Nicks and Anquan Boldin. Recent reports say that Boldin is likely to re-sign with the San Francisco 49ers, however.
Delmas’ career has had its ups and downs. He has shown flashes of brilliance with his aggressive play, but he has also shown lapse in judgement during plays throughout his career — not to mention that he has had an injury plagued career. Last season was the first in which he played in all 16 of the team’s regular season games.
The loss of Delmas leaves a void at safety. If the Lions can somehow restructure Suh’s contract to open up some more salary space they can afford to sign a free agent safety. Some of the names that come up are James Ihedigbo, Jairus Byrd and Donte Whitner. They could also go the veteran route and try and persuade free agent Charles Woodson to come back to his college stomping grounds. Woodson played for the University of Michigan from 1995-97 and won a Heisman Trophy and National Championship in 1997.
Whatever the Lions decide to do with this cap space is still up in the air. One thing is for sure though: They are most definitely not done making moves this offseason.