When salaries exceed performance, it can become an infection to the development of a team; and if not dealt with, it can become a cancer. Unfortunately for the Lions, there are players that fill the bill (pun intended).
The Lions have a lot of $$$ invested in the OL. Cherilus is the second highest paid OL on the team. When you’re ranked 50th among OT in the league making Pro-Bowler money, it can only lead to team issues. His salary is not his fault; but in error left over from the Millen era. I know many on the POD want to see the Lions to continue to develop him. But unless he’s been eating his Wheaties exclusively this off-season, his performance will continue to not match his salary.
It is pretty clear that the Lions will be coaching up Fox to be Backus’ replacement. Unfortunately for Cherilus, there isn’t a significant enough drop off in talent with Jansen and Hilliard. Look for the Lions to pay close attention to cuts during the pre-season for a RT.
Talent: OL not significantly impacted
Last year the Lions were in need of a solid back-up to Kevin Smith. This off-season Detroit acquired De De Dorsey and drafted Javid Best. Morris has been in the league for 9 years and makes 9 times the salary of the other RBs on the roster (until we sign Best). Dorsey was the most valuable player in the 2009 UFL Championship Game and Best is projected to be part of Detroit’s future.
Unfortunately for Morris, there is an abundance of young talent on Detroit’s roster, including Aaron Brown. I would venture that the Lions will try Jerome Felton as a power back, if Smith isn’t ready till after week 7. This would be similar to what Tennessee did with Chris Johnson and LenDale White, during Schwartz’s tenure.
Talent: RBs unaffected
In 2009 the Lions were desperate to find any one with a pulse to play in their secondary. Unfortunately, Eric King’s season was marred with injury. This offseason Detroit has revamped the personnel in their secondary, save Delmas. With the current acquisition of Dre Bly, King is not even projected as the nickel corner. Currently he makes more than double of any of Detroit’s DBs.
Talent: He doesn’t even figure into the equation
Each was brought in last year to help reduce the double/triple teams that Calvin Johnson was receiving. It just didn’t happen. This offseason, the Lions acquired Nate Burleson to correct the problem. With the development of Derrick Williams and the drafting of Tim Toone, it does not bode well for either one. Bryant’s problem looms larger, as he is the highest paid receiver on the roster.
The Lions have a lot of young talent at wide receiver on the roster to grow with Stafford. Bryant is a no brainer; and simply put, Northcutt is just old.
Savings: $3,206,370.00 (Bryant Johnson)
$1,550,000.00 (Dennis Northcutt)
Talent: Detroit took care of this in the offseason.
I know that there is no salary cap this year, but it simply makes good business sense. It is also necessary to take steps to continue to put the Detroit Lions back on the map of respectability; and put the Matt Milken years behind us.