As the new Detroit Lions regime faces the task of overhauling the roster, many names are headed to the chopping block in a year where money is tight.
The NFL has yet to announce exactly what the salary cap will be, but at this point, the Lions are projected to be over. The Athletic’s Chris Burke has a fantastic breakdown of Detroit’s situation, but for simplicity’s sake here — we’ll just say Holmes has some work to do.
Pro Football Focus examined all 32 teams and offered potential cut candidates. Like many local Detroit media, they predict cornerback Desmond Trufant is the most likely to be cut. His 2021 cap hit is about $12.2 million — so the Lions save a little under $6.2 million if they cut him with about $6 million in dead cap.
Though Trufant is a veteran with some productive years under his belt, his 2020 performance in Detroit left much to be desired. The Lions signed Trufant to a two-year deal after Darius Slay’s departure, but he only saw the field six times due to a nagging hamstring injury. He finished 120th in PFF grade (38.4) at the cornerback position.
“Trufant had a disastrous 2020 campaign within the league’s most porous defense, posting career-lows in overall grade, coverage grade and run-defense grade. He’ll turn 30 this upcoming season and has a hefty price tag for a team that knows it won’t compete. There’s no reason to not let Trufant look to bounce back elsewhere,” PFF’s Brad Spielberger writes.
On top of that, the Lions spent a third overall pick on Jeff Okudah, and although he had a rough rookie year, as cornerbacks often do, the Lions are expecting a much better performance in 2021. He and Amani Oruwariye make up a young core at the position, with quite a bit of potential.
And onto the rest of your notes.
- Although the Midwest Patriots experiment didn’t pan out in Detroit, there’s still value in looking at players coaches have worked with before. Dave Birkett offers a list of 11 free agents that have ties to the new regime. (Subscription required.)
- D’awwww. While speaking with students at his high school alma mater, the school surprised Lions general manger Brad Holmes by retiring his Chamberlain No. 55 jersey and hanging it in the school’s new athletic facility.
- Detroit isn’t expected to be wheelin’ and dealin’ in free agency with current salary cap restrictions. Like I mentioned above, Chris Burke takes a deep look at the Lions’ situation and what they can do now to be active in the future. (Subscription required.)
- Sheila Ford Hamp and Brad Holmes recently weighed in at the NFL’s Women’s Careers in Football Forum on the importance of diversity, take a look:
Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp and general manager Brad Holmes were guest panelists at the NFL's Women's Careers in Football Forum this week. They both spoke on the importance of diversity in the game. pic.twitter.com/vZv7CsUTZW— Tori Petry (@sportstori) February 25, 2021
- Zack Moran for Lions Wire takes a deep dive into whether Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel could help Detroit during the retool long haul.