5 Detroit Lions players who won't be back for the 2024 season

Now that the offseason is starting for the Detroit Lions, here are five players who won't back on the team next season.

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1. S Tracy Walker

The Lions rewarded Walker for a rebound season in 2021 with a three-year, $25 million contract in 2022. He suffered a torn Achilles in Week 3 last season, and as he made a phenomenal offseason recovery he was bumped down the depth chart due to the signing of C.J. Gardner-Johnson.

Gardner-Johnson's torn pectoral in Week 2 put Walker back into the lineup for the next 10 games. Then he was benched in favor of Ifeatu Melifonwu, who delivered big-time upon taking over. The former team captain was relegated to special teams, and when Gardner-Johnson came back his role of course stayed that way.

Walker has carried a cap hit of about $6.3 million this season, to be a backup and a special teamer at times with some struggles when he played a noticeable amount defensively. His cap hit for 2024 is $12.8 million. So he's all but surely going to be gone in the offseason, barring a significant adjustment that would probably be a straight up pay cut more than a restructure or extension to drop that cap number.

Via Over The Cap, here are the current cap savings and dead money implications of cutting or trading Walker this offseason.

  • Cut, pre-June 1: $7,321,268 dead money; $5.5 million cap savings
  • Trade, pre-June 1: $7,321,268 dead money; $5.5 million cap savings
  • Cut, post-June 1: $4,821,668 dead money; $8 million cap savings
  • Trade, post-June 1: $4.821,668 dead money; $8 million cap savings

With no clear place for him as a starter in Detroit moving forward, Walker looks like a tradeable asset this offseason. Being further removed from his Achilles' tear would help him return to the level of performance he had previously, and other teams will be aware of that prospect if they want to make a trade for him.

Walker is the kind of player the Lions would definitely love to keep around as a culture fit. But the money attached to him for 2024 is a thing that can't be ignored if he's not going to be a starter. Unless he agrees to take a significant financial haircut, his time in Detroit is on track to be done.

Being a healthy scratch for all three playoff games feels like the cherry on top of an offseason departure sundae for the former team captain.

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