5 Detroit Lions players who will not be back in 2023
5. WR Quintez Cephus
Yes this one may come off as very harsh. Cephus showed some promise early in the 2021 season, before a collarbone injury ultimately ended his season.
With some additions to the wide receiver room (DJ Chark, Jameson Williams) and Josh Reynolds around for the entire season barring injury, Cephus fell down the depth chart going into the 2022 campaign. A training camp injury was not as bad as it looked at the moment it happened, and early in the season he found a bit of a role as a special teamer.
Injuries to Amon-Ra St. Brown and Chark opened up an opportunity in Week 4, and Cephus played 33 offensive snaps against the Seattle Seahawks. But he also suffered a foot injury in that game, and landed on IR. His 21-day return window was opened in early December. But he did not make sufficient progress to be put on the active roster again, and his season was over when that return window expired.
Cephus, a fifth-round pick in 2020, is now entering the final year of his rookie contract with a cap hit a little over $1 million.
So it won’t be expensive to hang onto Cephus as a depth receiver and possible special teamer. The bigger question is where he’ll be on the depth chart. At a glance, depending on the Lions re-signing Chark or signing someone else, he’ll be battling for a roster spot just as he was last summer.
Cephus simply was not a factor in what the Lions did this season. He’s probably better off elsewhere, and he may be cut simply to allow him to pursue other potential opportunities.