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NFL Detroit Lions

5 Detroit Lions Who Must Be Kicked to the Curb Before Free Agency

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5 Detroit Lions Who Must Be Kicked To The Curb Before Free Agency

Detroit Lions Free Agency
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Yet another season of disappointment just ended for the Detroit Lions with the same predictable results. For the second straight year the Lions missed the playoffs, this time finishing 7-9 after starting 6-3. With the window of opportunity slowly starting to close in Detroit, the franchise needs to win now or else the team will have to start over again just like they have so many times before. Even before free agency starts on Mar. 11, there are some players on the Lions who need to go now.

As the Lions get ready for the 2014 NFL season, this team has already made some tough decisions regarding some of their marquee players. Safety Louis Delmas was released last week and with that came a $6 million cap hit. Next, the Lions cut ties with wide receiver Nate Burleson and his $5.5 million cap hit.

As I wrote about earlier this offseason (, there are moves that the Lions can still make to get even more under the salary cap which involve even more of their more high-profile players.

The Lions currently are in a predicament; the team is good enough to be on the brink of playoff contention, yet they aren't good enough to get over the hump. The Lions have some of the best players in place that can carry the franchise moving forward.

As the Lions continue their quest for their first NFC North title in over 20 years, these are the five Detroit Lions' players who should be shown the door before free agency begins.

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5. Mikel Leshoure

Mikel Leshoure
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Running back Mikel Leshoure went from highly touted second-round pick in 2011 to the current Lions fourth-string running back barely seeing the field. This move has the least to do with the salary cap; rather, the Lions just need to cut bait with him right now and not prolong the agony.

With Leshoure's trade value basically nothing, the team would only swallow $242,000 in dead money while saving just $843,000.

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4. Leroy Harris

Leroy Harris
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Quite frankly, I'm surprised that backup offensive lineman Leroy Harris is still on the roster. Harris was one of Jim Schwartz's former players who came to Detroit due to his familiarity with Schwartz. Needless to say, Harris has done nothing for the team.

Harris is scheduled to make around $2 million next year, including bonuses and incentives. With barely under $150,000 in dead money the Lions will take, Harris is a low-risk release that would save just under $2 million in the salary cap, making his release a move that needs to happen now.

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3. Corey Hilliard

Corey Hilliard
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions had right tackle Corey Hilliard penciled in as a starter last season. Hilliard only appeared in nine games last year with seven starts. With the emergence of LaAdrian Waddle and former first-round pick Riley Reiff entrenched as the starting tackles next season, keeping Hilliard would be a waste of time.

In 2014, Hilliard will make just under $2 million. Hilliard is another low-risk release as he only counts $250,000 in dead money, saving the Lions $1.65 million this offseason with his release.

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2. Jason Jones

Jason Jones
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive end Jason Jones was one of the major free agent acquisitions last year, but his season was cut short by season-ending injuries. Jones was yet another "Schwartz" guy brought in because he knew the scheme. With Schwartz gone, the Lions don't have to keep their word to a free agent who doesn't fit the team's new schemes.

Jones is scheduled to make $3.6 million next season. Cutting him would bring just around $1.6 million in dead money, but by saving $2 million, this move is necessary.

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1. Rob Sims

Rob Sims
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

I love Rob Sims as a player for the Lions, but reality has to sink in. The Lions are making a concerted effort to get younger on the line, and even though the team brought back Dominic Raiola, keeping Sims would hinder their plans.

Sims is scheduled to make just under $4 million in 2014. With a slightly higher $1.2 million in dead money, this cut would be difficult, but the team would still be saving $2.5 million with his release.