And a lot of weight at that. Corey Williams is an average to above average player that is using up star player money (5mil this year). It makes no sense to keep paying him the kind of money the Lions are, considering all the talented defensive tackles we have on our team. Last year he was a player that kind of disappeared with the emergence of Nick Fairly and the continued progression of players like Sammie Lee Hill and even Andre Fluellen played probably as well as Williams did this last year. Sure the first season with Williams and Suh together was pretty special but for whatever reason Williams had a real average year last year. Maybe his age is catching up to him and his weight. But regardless of the reason there are far more important players that that money could be going to this year.
Another casualty of other players exceeding his performance and abilities is Nate Burleson. The difference between Burleson and Williams is that Nate actually played well last year. However he is set to be paid 4mil this coming year and considering the play of Titus Young, Burleson is actually a commodity that isn't really needed at his price range. With CJ, Young, Marcus Harris, Nate Hughes we have all the WR talent that Stafford really needs. add another 3rd thru 5th round WR thru the draft this year and it would be a well rounded WR core. Considering that most of the offensive sets (or at least is seemed) this last year involved 2 wide receivers and 2 tight ends, paying a 3rd string WR 4mil this year seems ludicrous. And yes I do consider him a 3rd stringer with the way that Young played at the end of the year. Again we could be using his money towards other positions we really need to focus on. Offense, other than offensive line play, really wasn't a weakness at all last year. Even our running backs played serviceable, especially after Kevin Smith was re-signed. Really hope they re-sign him again to be our 3rd string if Jahvid Best returns or 2nd string if he doesn't.
Cutting ties with Williams and Burleson would save the Lions roughly $9 million. I'm sure there is bonus money and other things that would drop that number down some, but I don't know how to find out what that is and even if I did I am sure that figuring it out would make my head hurt. But the Lions would save a lot of money by heading in another direction than keeping these guys on the team. And its possible there wouldn't be any loss of production by releases either or both of them.
Instead I have heard rumors that Detroit is trying to trade Alphonso Smith who is a young and productive defensive back. Sure he does need some refinement in his skills, but again he is young. He actually makes plays on the ball and comes down with the INT's. Oh and lets not forget, he will save a whopping $500k this year. Now I know he has had issues with his coverage at times (Brady made him look like a fool) but isn't it the coaches job to take a kid like him who obviously has talent and make him better? For some reason there are people who think that Aaron Berry is better than him yet Berry has been outplayed by Smith to this point on the field. I have seen Berry burned by WR's just as often as Smith but Smith is the only one coming down with the INT's. If they would spend the time working with Smith I feel that he will become a very good DB.
Cliff Avril has people on both sides of his fence. Some think he needs to be re-signed while other don't. Fact is that he was the most productive DE Detroit had last year. And while some think that you can add anyone to the line and they would be able to produce at the same rate, Detroit only had one defensive lineman with good numbers this year. A few had OK numbers, such as Kyle Vanden Bosch and Lawrence Jackson. But if anyone was released from the defensive line this year it should be KVB. He did have decent numbers but if I had to choose between Avril and KVB its a no brainer. I am not sure how much could be saved from releasing KVB but whatever that amount is could be used toward re-signing Cliff Avril. People say we need KVB because of his leadership skills but that is a crock or really steamy crap. Leadership skills wont make a bum we sign on the cheap to replace Avril get 10+ sacks and cause 6+ fumbles and all the other actual skills Avril has. If there was a way to keep them both that would be great but it seems we are overpaying to many players on the D-line as it is.
If the Lions would release Corey Williams and KVB and possibly sign KVB back with a more reasonable contract number that would help alleviate some of the contractual issues the team is having. Also releasing Burleson and re-signing CJ back to a long term deal would really help the team be able to sign some players such as Stephen Tulloch, Kevin Smith and Eric Wright if they want them back. Or to sign their replacements.
I know this is just the ramblings of a man that doesn't know all the ins and outs of football contracts and why decisions are or are not made by the front offices of professional football teams. And don't get me wrong, I have all the faith in the world in Martin Mayhew after he turned this team into a playoff team in such a short time. But I really don't understand why we are keeping the deadweight on the team. If anyone more knowledgeable than I has an answer to this I would love to know. So feel free to blast me or agree with me but please give me your opinions as to my ideas on these particular players. thanks for reading.