The Detroit Lions made the tough decision of cutting veteran guard T.J. Lang earlier on Friday. It stands to reason that finances took a big part in their decision, as Lang would have accounted for $11.5 million against the cap in 2019. By cutting him, the Lions freed up $8.8 million in cap space.
One potential option the Lions faced was offering Lang a pay cut, hoping that the veteran guard would stay around and help mentor their young corps of offensive linemen. It was an option Lang was even potentially open to entertaining.
“I would be open to playing next year,” Lang said in December when asked about a paycut. “I don’t care what anything else looks like.”
It even sounded like general manager Bob Quinn was contemplating something along those lines when asked about the situation during last week’s NFL Combine.
“I’d say T.J. is in that category of someone that we’re still kind of going through the process thinking about what we want to do and talking with T.J. a little bit here and there,” Quinn said.
But according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the Lions never made an offer.
A person apprised of the move said the Lions did not approach Lang about staying at a lesser salary, though Lang said he was open to that option after the season.
That’s a little disappointing to hear. Lang was a leader in the locker room and was one of the team’s best linemen when healthy.
Alas, Lang’s inability to stay healthy was likely the determining factor in Detroit’s decision. In his two years in Detroit, Lang dealt with back, neck, foot, and hip injuries, and suffered concussions on two different occasions. He missed a total of 13 games in two seasons.
As for Lang’s future, he’ll have to decide whether to call it a career or not. At the end of the 2018 season, it certainly sounded like he didn’t want to be done with the game.
“I would love to play going forward, but there’s also a lot of people I need to talk to before any decision like that is made,” mentioned Lang. “I’ve got to wait for the dust to settle. It’s never good to make decisions when you’re emotional.”