Detroit Lions running back, Theo Riddick
Let’s start with a fairly obvious choice, Theo Riddick. Scheduled to make $4.625 million in pay, Riddick is a third-down, receiving specialist with limited ability as a fill-in running back if Kerryon Johnson went down. His salary is the ninth highest of any Lions player, roster here.
On the plus side, Riddick has been a reliable receiver out of the backfield and has accumulated over 500 yards of offense in each of the last four years and has snagged 53 to 80 receptions in each campaign. His 2018 saw a drop in yardage, between 700-800 yards from 2015 to 2017, down to 555 yards rushing and receiving combined. Over that same stretch his pay has jumped from $608, 000 to $4,137,500.
Drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 2013 Sixth Round, pick 199, Riddick has put up good numbers as a late pick and his last contract was signed to an extension in 2016, according to Over The Cap. The total value of the deal is eleven million, five hundred and fifty thousand dollars. If he were to be cut, the club would owe him less than a million dollars in dead money and save $3.66 million in cap room by allowing him to explore other vocational opportunities.
Riddick’s a one-trick pony in a more competitive backfield. His receiving ability isn’t as necessary due to several factors, the biggest of which is that starter Kerryon Johnson is a capable receiver. This leaves him with no defined need on the team. C.J. Anderson is both the backup and short-yardage runner.
Arguably, Zach Zenner is the better third option as a runner and he also plays special teams. Zenner can catch some, too, which really leaves the Detroit Lions asking whether or not he’s that much better than speedster rookie Ty Johnson, who will cost a mere five hundred and thirty-eight thousand dollars. That’s if they decide to keep four running backs, at all.
It’s possible that they believe that he has a role in the new offense or that his decline in yardage was due to the poor offense of 2018 and not due to any decline in Riddick’s ability. It could also be that they have more confidence in him than Ty Johnson, or just want extra depth as insurance for the health of Kerryon Johnson, who missed nine games. There’s no guarantee that he’s gone but given the cost of his salary, the depth around him, and the low cost of younger, faster, options he could be on the chopping block.