Time is running low for all of the NFL players currently residing on the roster bubble. In exactly one week’s time, each team will have to cut down their roster from 80 players to 53. It’s a devastating day throughout the league, as 864 players will see their dreams deferred. Sure, some of those players will find another home or land on a practice squad, but it’s still a miserable experience and a shot to the ego.
Now that we’re several weeks into training camp, the Detroit Lions’ roster is starting to come into focus. According to coach Dan Campbell, there are just under 10 roster spots still up for grabs in the next seven days.
“I mean, eight to 10, somewhere in there probably,” Campbell said on Monday. “I mean it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be a tough deal this year.”
Detroit’s final evaluation of those final spots begins with a big night practice on Tuesday and concludes with Sunday’s preseason finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
What is the Lions’ biggest remaining camp battle?
My answer: You can interpret “big” in any way that you’d like—maybe it’s the most talented camp battle, the most important, or the one where you have the smallest amount of clarity.
But for me, I am still fascinated and perplexed about what the Lions will do at the nickelback position. AJ Parker seemed like he had a pretty firm grasp on the starting job until the Lions opted to give Mike Hughes the start against the Indianapolis Colts. Parker, meanwhile, played deep into the second half.
Of course, that move could be interpreted multiple ways. Hughes could have jumped Parker in the depth chart or the Lions possibly wanted to see how Hughes would play against better competition.
But the intrigue doesn’t stop there. How does seventh-round pick Chase Lucas fit into the picture? He hasn’t had a ton of playing time in the preseason, but if Hughes doesn’t win the starting job, would they consider keeping the promising rookie over him? Detroit would have to eat $1 million in dead cap if they chose to cut Hughes, but general manager Brad Holmes proved last year with Breshad Perriman that the team won’t be afraid to take on a minor financial burden to make the right move.
Or has Lucas not proved enough in his low amount of playing time this summer? Considering how far Lucas fell in the draft, is there significant risk that he’d be claimed by a team in waivers or do the Lions feel comfortable they can stash him on the practice squad to develop for a year?
I’m hoping we can get some clarity on that matchup before next Tuesday’s cutdowns.