When you’re covering the Detroit Lions, or any football team for that matter, you have days where you hold your head in your hands and ask, “What the hell is going on here?” Free agency offers a week of those days. But Wednesday brought a whole new high to Lions fans when the Lions suddenly cut Eric Ebron 30 minutes before the new league year.
After failing to find a trade partner for him, Lions are releasing former first-round pick Eric Ebron, per source. Another TE hits the market.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2018
I’ve been the man on staff that’s been charged with giving the first reaction to this move, and, of course, that reaction is, “What the hell is going on here?” The Lions lost tight end Darren Fells to the Cleveland Browns earlier in the day, and now they’ve released Ebron to go along with him. This leaves the Lions with Michael Roberts, Hakeem Valles, Brandon Barnes, and a ton of confused fans.
There’s no question that we all knew there was a chance Ebron would not be with the Lions in 2018. It was reported during the NFL Combine that the Lions were listening to trade offers for Ebron. But the general consensus at the time was that was that a trade was unlikely and that the Lions would go into the 2018 season with Ebron, and the tight end would play a big role in the team’s offense.
Now we have all found out just how wrong we were about Ebron. There are going to be a million questions about Ebron’s release over the next few weeks. We may never know why the Lions were apparently hell bent on moving on from Ebron.
But the theory that makes the most sense is that the Lions needed the extra money to net a big free agent or free agents. With the release, the Lions save $8.25 million towards the 2018 cap. With that in mind, things could get really interesting here for the Lions very soon.
If the Lions don’t net a big fish, what was the point of all of this and what will be the Lions’ plan to replace him be? And just how upset will Lions fans be if and when Ebron goes somewhere else and continues to show the same improvement that he showed for the Lions in the second have of the 2017 season?
Secondly, why were the Lions not able to trade Eric Ebron? Were they asking for too much? Were other teams afraid to trade for a polarizing player that hasn’t fully lived up to his draft status? Or were teams sure they could get Ebron for a cheaper price down the road? This is another question we may never get the answer to.