5 Detroit Lions players who are definitely entering their last season with the team

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Romeo Okwara, Detroit Lions
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

2. DE/OLB Romeo Okwara

A torn Achilles in Week 4 of the 2021 season sidelined Okwara fairly well into last season. He had a nice flash performance against the New York Jets (two sacks), but otherwise he was a non-factor over the five games he played.

Facing real uncertainty on the open market if he was cut by the Lions, Okwara instead agreed to a sizeable pay cut to stay around. This is the final year of the three-year he signed coming of a 10-sack season in 2020. He can earn back a big chunk of his $9 drop in base salary if he's active for all 17 games this season, via a $500,000 per game roster bonus.

In the mechanics of his contract re-do, the Lions added no further commitment to Okwara. Unless he goes off again this year, to the tune of 8-10 sacks, this will definitely be his last season with the team.

1. OG Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Speaking of offseason pay cuts, Vaitai took one too after missing all of of last season with a back injury. He recently revealed his time away last season led to him considering retirement, but he couldn't leave the promising situation with the Lions just yet.

Vaitai's contract restructure also trimmed off the final year of his original five-year contract, making 2024 a void year instead. This offseason's move was a culmination of other contract restructures done over the last couple years with Vaitai, to now fully create the path to move on. So as he competes with Graham Glasgow for the starting job at right guard, "Big V" is also effectively going into a contract year.

There's a chance Vaitai re-asserts himself as the Lions' starting right guard, and makes a convincing argument to stay around in 2024 and/or beyond. But the far more likely scenario, regardless of his health or even how well he plays, is that he's going into his final season with the team as the last bloated contract vestige of the "Quinntricia" era in Detroit.

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