1. DE Michael Brockers
Simply put, Brockers did not deliver much in his first year as a Lion. He played 16 games last season, with 52 total tackles. But he had just one sack (with five pressures and one quarterback hit) along with four tackles for loss. His snap shares were reduced as the season went on, and his pass rush production was virtually non-existent after early in the season (as was his level of disruption to offensive backfields).
The Lions gave Brockers a new contract after acquiring him from the Rams last offseason, for reasons only known clearly to them (veteran leadership?). At this point, he’s truly only going to block opportunity for younger players.
Next year looks like the better time to cut Brockers, with the ability to create $10 million in cap space. If someone wanted to trade for him right now, the dead money on the cap is lessened by a good bit. That being said, a post-June 1 cut this year would soften the dead money blow a little bit too ($5.975 million). Some contract restructures could be done to make that dead money more palatable.
Getting down to it, Brockers should be guaranteed nothing in terms of a role on the 2022 Lions’ defensive line. Leadership intangibles only go so far in a meritocracy. And a young team doesn’t need to invite the possibility of a disgruntled veteran, even though there’s nothing up to now in his career that would suggest Brockers will become one.