It was expected, and to some degree a no-brainer, but the Detroit Lions are indeed set to cut veteran defensive tackle Michael Brockers.
On their path to potentially clearing a lot of salary cap space, the Detroit Lions have taken the first step. According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press on Thursday night, the team and Michael Brockers have amicably agreed to part ways.
The move to cut the veteran defensive tackle is expected to be official on Friday. The Lions will clear $10 million in cap space with the move, while retaining $3.975 million in dead money due to prorated signing bonus.
Brockers came to the Lions from the Los Angeles Rams in a March 2021 trade for a 2023 seventh-round pick. The Lions immediately gave him a new contract, three years, $24 million, inexplicably then and certainly in hindsight.
Brockers’ first season in Detroit was not very good, and his role was reduced as it went on. This past season, he played in one game (12 snaps) after the Week 6 bye. He was regularly a healthy scratch as the team turned its season around. But his role as a team leader behind the scenes was widely lauded, and he embraced it as much as he could.
Michael Brockers now gets a head start on his future in the NFL
It’s nearly three weeks before the 2023 NFL league year starts. So Brockers has a head start on finding a new team. He could decide to retire, but based on his comments to Birkett during last season that seems unlikely.
"I know I can still play,” Brockers told the Free Press. “I know I can still play in this league physically. Mentally, it’s a thing that I’m kind of thinking about, but other than that, not really. I’m just finishing this year out strong and get into the offseason and see what happens after that.”"
The Lions now have a big leadership void to fill, and that shouldn’t be discounted. But on the field, Brockers will not be hard to replace. It was already done over the final 10 games of the 2022 season, and now he’s just not going to take up a roster spot or a solid chunk of cap space.