Detroit Lions set to release veteran safety Tracy Walker

After he appeared to tease his departure, the Detroit Lions have reportedly informed Tracy Walker he will be released.


As the 2023 season wound down, and Ifeatu Melinfonwu was ready to emerge, Tracy Walker had his role reduced and then was a healthy scratch for all three of the Detroit Lions' playoff games. Not suiting up all in the playoffs was a pre-cursor to what the former team captain's future with the team was, with a $12.8 million cap hit coming this year.

On Tuesday afternoon, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported the Lions intend to release Walker.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler also reported the Lions are releasing Walker. As did Justin Rogers of The Detroit News.

The Lions made the move to release Walker official later on Feb. 20.

Walker was a third-round pick by the Lions in 2018. If he's indeed done in Detroit, with the team still having to make it official, he'll have played 79 games (43 starts) in Honolulu Blue, with two 100-plus tackle seasons. He was a key piece of the secondary for most of his first four seasons, before he suffered a torn Achilles in Week 3 of the 2022 season. He then made a speedy recovery with no apparent setbacks, but his role changed with the Lions signing C.J. Gardner-Johnson.

Gardner-Johnson's Week 2 pectoral opened up a big role for Walker, but he had ups and downs and Melifonwu took his place as a starter in Week 14.

Tracy Walker posts farewell message to Detroit

Before the reports of his release surfaced, Walker revealed his time in Detroit was over via an Instagram post.

"Detroit I want to thank you for welcoming me in as rookie and accepting me as family.. I want to thank the Ford family for giving me the opportunity to be apart of something special over these last 6 years. I want to thank my fans and supporters for always having my back through it all. I want to thank the city for holding down for me. It was many ups and downs but that’s life and life is 10% what happens to you, 90% how you respond. With that being the future is bright and TTIME is coming harder than ever for Year7.!! GOD BLESS TTIME⏰ OUT”

Now to the business side of it.

Releasing Walker will create $5.5 million in cap space for the Lions, and leave behind about $7.3 million in dead money. If he were designated a post-June 1 cut, it would be $8 million in cap savings this year with $2.5 million of the aforementioned dead money pushed to 2025.

Walker is getting a bit of a head start on free agency, as he can sign with a new team immediately. He's also obviously a little further removed from his torn Achilles. He should have some suitors on the open market.

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