The offseason is beginning to ramp up as the Lions lost a few veteran players this past week and more are expected before the start of free agency. The NFL Combine begins on February 23rd and free agency starts on March 9th. The Lions, as well as the rest of the NFL, are going to be very busy the next couple of weeks.
Rashean Mathis Retires
Lions CB Rashean Mathis announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday.
After 13 seasons in the NFL, 3 of which spent in Detroit, Rashean Mathis is calling it quits. Mathis wasn’t just a leader on the field, he was a leader in the locker room as well.
Mathis played just 7 games this past season before being placed on season-ending IR due to a concussion. Mathis finished his career with 32 interceptions, 111 passes defensed and 647 tackles. He is also the all-time interceptions leader for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Lions Release Joique Bell
After 4 seasons with the team, the Lions have released RB Joique Bell.
The Lions made the tough decision to part ways with Bell, but it was something that many saw coming. Approaching 30 years old and suffering multiple injury setbacks, Bell is coming off his worst season with the Lions, averaging a career-low 3.5 yards per carry and only starting 5 games in 2015. With Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick getting the bulk of the offensive workload, Bell had been nearly phased out, receiving just 90 carries this past season, opposed to 223 in 2014.
In his 4 years with the Lions, Bell racked up 3,875 yards from scrimmage and scored 23 touchdowns. He and former Lions RB Reggie Bush are the only teammates in NFL history to both have 500+ rushing yards and 500+ receiving yards in the same season.
Bell tweeted this out after being released by the team:
Lions to Release Stephen Tulloch
Lions have informed LB Stephen Tulloch that he will be released at the beginning of the new league year.
After 5 seasons with the team, the Lions have decided to move on from Tulloch. One of the most consistent players on defense over the past few seasons, Tulloch had begun to become a liability, especially in the passing game. After returning from a season-ending injury in 2014, Tulloch never seemed to find his groove.
He had 100+ tackles in 4 out of his 5 years in Detroit, only falling short in 2014 when he suffered a torn ACL which ended his season. Releasing Tulloch will save the Lions $6M in cap space, but he will still have a $1.3M cap hit in 2016.
Lions Plan to Move on from Manny Ramirez
The Lions and OL Manny Ramirez have agreed to go their separate ways.
Ramirez was one of the Lions’ more reliable offensive linemen this season; he was mainly used as a plug and play option filling in for other injured players. He was the backup center behind Travis Swanson, but also spent some time at guard. Ramirez fell shy of a $450,000 incentive that he would’ve received had he played 50% of the snaps this past season; he played in 45.3%.