After wrapping up their mandatory minicamp last year, the Detroit Lions made a shocking roster move by releasing cornerback Chris Houston. Although Houston's health was up in the air with him recovering from toe surgery, nobody really expected them to just release him.
This year, a similar situation just played out with cornerback Bill Bentley, who is working his way back from a torn ACL. The Lions wrapped up their mandatory minicamp on Thursday, and they released Bentley following practice.
Bentley, who was a third-round pick in 2012, was limited to individual drills during OTAs and this week's minicamp, but the expectation was for him to compete for the starting nickelback job this summer. He made eight total starts in his first two years with the Lions, and he entered the 2014 season as the top nickelback. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL just three plays into the season, but he was expected to be in the mix at nickelback again this year.
As it turns out, the Lions have simply decided to move on. With the emergence of rookie Quandre Diggs and veteran Josh Wilson this offseason, numbers were already somewhat tight at cornerback, especially at the nickel spot. Add in the return of Nevin Lawson, who suffered a season-ending injury of his own last year, and simply finding a spot on the 53-man roster for Bentley was tough. I still figured he would get a shot at making his case for a roster spot in training camp, but I suppose the writing was on the wall in this scenario, and releasing Bentley now will give him plenty of time to catch on with another team.
With the Lions releasing Bentley on Thursday and running back Rasheed Williams on Wednesday, they currently have 88 players on their roster. It's unclear what the Lions are planning to do to get back to 90 players, but they have two vacant spots right now.