In speaking with reporters today, Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew briefly explained the decision to release Jahvid Best.
From Channel 7’s Tom Leyden:
Mayhew said it was a certainty that Best wouldn't play for them this year so they had to let him go because of his impact on the '12 cap.
— Tom Leyden (@TomLeyden) July 30, 2013
The Detroit Lions carried Best on their roster last season with the hope that he would eventually be cleared to return to football. That never happened and while his spot on the PUP list and eventually IR didn’t cost the Lions against the 53-man roster, it wasn’t a free ride. While PUP and IR free up a roster spot, those designations don’t free up cap space and the Lions found themselves with little room to operate late in the year as injuries started to pile up.
Knowing that Best will not return to football this year, and probably ever, the Lions had to move on financially. The cap space freed up gives the Lions some additional contingency money to replace players on the roster when injuries undoubtedly start taking a toll. The Lions currently have about $5 million in cap space remaining, about $4 million less than the current league average.