5 Detroit Lions players who are on the hot seat in 2021

Jahlani Tavai #51 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Jahlani Tavai #51 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
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Trey Flowers, Detroit Lions
Trey Flowers, Detroit Lions (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /

Detroit Lions hot-seat honorable mentions

Trey Flowers, LB

Flowers has a huge contract, not huge numbers, and is being asked to move back to outside linebacker/ edge in the 3-man front. He has done this well in the past, although he’s not going to be asked to cover hardly ever. Flowers monster deal has an out after 2021 with $12.9 million in dead cap money, according to Spotrac, if (when) they part ways with him.

In this re-tool, his cost at almost $20 million per year is prohibitive when Holmes has signed bargains at other positions of need. We’d be shocked if he stays but they can’t afford to cut him, yet. His hot seat is really just a warmer, where he’s waiting for the inevitable.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OG

Another expensive signing from the Bob Quinn era that tried to address the hole left by former guard Graham Glasgow, now with the Denver Broncos.

Vaitai hasn’t been available and is only seeing time at guard, although he was brought in to be a versatile swing tackle or guard at about $10 million per year. The team has a potential out built into his contract after 2021 if he does not meet expectations that will cost them $4.2 million in dead cap.

While his cost is high, if he played really well, there is a small shot at staying. That being said, he would have to play near an All-Pro level to keep the job at his current salary. His hot seat will get hotter if he starts off slowly at right guard.

Da’Shawn Hand, DL

Last but not least, defensive end Da’Shawn Hand started his career as a rookie standout back in 2018 but two injury-plagued seasons have hindered him. Well-built for the 3-man front at 6-3, 297, the former Crimson Tide star is in the last year of his rookie contract and is facing a lot of competition as general manager Brad Holmes is reconstituting the line.

Holmes spent two high picks on linemen, Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeil in the second and third rounds, respectively. Hand has to ball out to earn a second deal but the team would love for a couple of guys to hit their potential, especially upfront on the defense.

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HIs hot seat is mostly about someone taking his spot if he cannot stay on the field or if he performs poorly. Fans would love to see him healthy and playing as he did in 2018 when he looked like a fourth-round steal.