When the Detroit Lions released offensive guard Stephen Peterman and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch last week, I fully expected that center Dominic Raiola would be released as well. Peterman and Vanden Bosch were let go for a combination of poor play last season and a high salary for 2013, and Raiola really fits that description as well. He's got a cap hit of around $6 million for 2013, and it has become clear that the Lions could use an upgrade at center.
For now, anyway, the Lions are apparently content with simply releasing Peterman and Vanden Bosch (and Titus Young for non-salary reasons). They got under the projected salary cap and actually created around $3 million in space with their moves last week. Releasing Raiola would save the Lions approximately another $4 million, but he is still on the roster for now.
Will Raiola continue to be on the roster? That's to be determined. Both Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and general manager Martin Mayhew were asked last week about Raiola's future, and neither really had anything worthwhile to say about the situation. Via MLive, here's a look at Schwartz's comments:
"It's always a work in progress. Martin's famous for saying there's no finish line when it comes to your roster. I'm sure there will be other things that we do, but these other ones came up right away. Different things with each of those moves."
Part of the reason the Lions may be waiting to make a move with Raiola is because they want to see how free agency and the draft play out. If they are desperate for cap space, perhaps that could trigger a move involving Raiola. If they are able to get through the initial wave of free agency, though, they may have the luxury of seeing how things develop before making a move one way or another with Raiola. If the Lions go out and sign an offensive guard, for example, then maybe it makes sense to roll with Bill Nagy at center, making Raiola expendable. Another example would be drafting a center. Perhaps that would cause the Lions to let Raiola go.
For the time being, Raiola remains a Lion. I have my doubts that he will continue to be on the roster given the money they could save by releasing him, but I'm sure the Lions are a bit hesitant to cut another starting offensive linemen, especially with right tackle Gosder Cherilus set to become a free agent. When it comes to Raiola, they just seem more comfortable with taking a wait-and-see approach.