Yesterday the Detroit Lions cut ties with wide veteran receiver Nate Burleson and safety Louis Delmas, saving $11.5 million in cap space.
Burleson and Delmas are often labeled the heart and soul of their respective units so the Lions deciding to cut both shows their trust in guys like Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and Ndamukong Suh to be the leaders on the field and in the locker room moving forward.
The moves make sense for a lot of reasons. The most obvious being it immediately gives the Lions some breathing room in free agency, but it also puts an emphasis on the trio of stars that account for about half of the salary cap. It also saved the Lions from making a decision in the future on extending Delmas, who has had a difficult time staying healthy over the course of his NFL career.
The Lions should be able to get at least one contributor in free agency now thanks to the moves, but there is still more that can be done. Extending Suh is a possibility and could free up even more money for a bigger free agent target if the Lions choose to go that route.
There’s a league-wide perception that the Lions have an abundance of talent, but just can’t put it all together.
For the most part that’s a fair statement, because they have the talent in the right spots to be a successful football team. However, there are still holes on the roster, namely safety, cornerback and wide receiver. With the cuts of Burleson and Delmas the Lions have positioned themselves to be able to fill one or two of those needs in free agency and hopefully cover the rest in the draft.
If the Lions can replicate the success they had in last year’s draft they should be primed to make a playoff run in 2014.