Dec 24, 2011; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson (13) during player introductions prior to the game against the San Diego Chargers at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

Detroit Lions May Not Be Able to Afford to Let Nate Burleson Finish Out His Contract

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In Nate Burleson’s perfect world he would finish out the three years remaining on his current contract and then retire. It’s a nice thought in theory but the Detroit Lions will have some difficult decision to make before they allow it to play out that way.

Burleson remains productive, his 71 receptions last season were a career high, and his impact on the locker room in general and wide receiver group in specific can’t be understated. He is regarded as nothing short of a pro’s pro just the kind of veteran presence that the Lions can use as some of their younger members learn how to adjust to life in the NFL.

But that doesn’t mean the Lions can afford to let the intangibles overshadow any shortcomings that arise as time moves on and the end of Burleson’s deal approaches.

The cap number associated with Nate Burleson’s contract is set to balloon in 2013 – partly due to built-in salary escalations and partly due to money spread over the length of the contract as a result of restructuring. According to Spotrac.com, Burleson’s deal was responsible for a $2.875 against the salary cap in 2011 and is set for a $2.281 million hit in 2012. The cap hit jumps to $5.9 million in 2013 and $6.9 million in 2014.

Also working against Burleson being able to finish out his contract with the Lions s that his potential replacement is already in-house in rookie Ryan Broyles.

There is a lot of water to go under the bridge before we’ll know if Burleson is able to follow through on his plan but from the current view, there are several impediments in his way.

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