Detroit Lions surprise cut candidate might make a lot of sense

The Detroit Lions could make a surprise cut or two before Week 1, but one possibility given recently may wind up making a lot of sense.

Not that his performance in camp and the preseason easily warranted keeping him, but the Detroit Lions cut wide receiver Breshad Perriman before last season started. Given how barren the wide receiver group was, it was a notable and fairly surprising move to part ways with a veteran free agent signing.

The Lions may not cut someone with a recognizable name before Week 1 this year, but it could happen. The depth on the roster is better, and the best players will earn roster spots/jobs with no regard for status or the marks that reflect that (experience, contract, etc.). At this point, cap space is not a huge thing. It would be a numbers game to cut someone, but in the broader scope of the 53-man roster and not strictly financial.

The 33rd Team has tabbed one surprise cut for each NFL team over the remainder of the offseason. The Lions have a few candidates we’ve fleshed out, and one of them made the list.

Detroit Lions: Cutting Michael Brockers makes plenty of sense if it comes to that

For the Lions, the surprise cut from The 33rd Team is defensive lineman Michael Brockers.

After making the trade for Michael Brockers last offseason, it seemed like Brockers could be a long-term part of their future. However, Detroit has made a commitment to investing in the trenches along the DL. On the interior, between Levi Onwuzurike, Alim McNeil, Josh Paschal, and the other players they have on the edge, moving on from a veteran on the DL would make sense. In addition, by cutting Brockers, Detroit could save around $1M this season and $10M next season.

Brockers brings veteran leadership to a young Lions team, and he’s the only member of the team who’s over 30 years old. But his production was not that great last year, with one sack in 16 games and few impact plays overall. There’s a place where intangibles have to be met by on-field impact, and Brockers was not there last season.

Cutting Brockers of course removes the Lions’ obligation to him for 2023, the final year of his contract, and clears $10 million of a $11.975 million cap hit next year. Cutting him right now (post-June 1) clears $3 million in cap space for this year, while leaving $5.975 million in dead money according to Over The Cap. A trade, which has been suggested recently elsewhere in a bold move, is more favorable on the cap sheet for this year.

The Lions are getting younger along the defensive line. Brockers’ on-field role in that mix is up in the air–and lined up to be reduced.

Brockers wouldn’t publicly grumble about anything related to his situation. But if it gets to a certain point during training camp or the preseason, the idea the Lions and he would amicably part ways makes plenty of sense.