5 Detroit Lions players who will not be back in 2023

Credit: Cooper Neill/Getty Images
Credit: Cooper Neill/Getty Images /
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Credit: Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Stevens Point (WI) Journal
Credit: Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Stevens Point (WI) Journal /

1. CB Amani Oruwariye

Oruwariye looked like a budding star in 2021, as the clear bright spot of an otherwise struggling Detroit secondary. He was third in the league with six interceptions, with a 74.1 passer rating allowed in his coverage (according to Pro Football Reference) and 11 pass breakups.

But a fall came this year, and it was a very hard and very fast one. Oruwariye was so ineffective he was benched for Week 5. Then he had to play a big role out of the bye in Week 7 and Week 8 (every defensive snap in both games). In Week 9 he rightfully dropped all the way down to one defensive snap, and from there it took injury/illness/ineffectiveness elsewhere for him to play more than a defensive snap or two in a game.

Oruwariye’s fall was so dramatic it’s easy to think he had a hidden injury issue before he was essentially benched. But there have been no indications of that. So he apparently simply had a stark erosion of his skills, tape was out on him and opponents figured out how to exploit him or there was something else non-physical impacting him.

Despite the hypothetical need to secure good pieces of a defense they hoped would improve, the Lions didn’t get antsy and give Oruwariye what probably would’ve been a fairly lucrative contract extension last offseason. They can take solace in that decision now, as he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Oruwariye should be allowed to explore the open market, with about a 1.5 percent chance the Lions’ consider bringing him back.

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