You know, things aren't great for the Lions right now. Due to a lack of playoff success, and a dearth of playoff appearances, they just hired a brand new head coach and brought in new coordinators and such. The problem is, Detroit was really bad at the worst time to be bad. They got saddled with huge contracts in the NFL Draft. The Colts got to take Andrew Luck for fairly cheap. Matthew Stafford entered the league as, I believe, the highest paid quarterback in NFL history. As such, finagling their salary cap situation can be tricky, and two players were just released largely due to that fact. The Lions have released Nate Burleson and Louis Delmas.
The Burleson cut doesn't surprise me at all. He's a pretty good receiver, but he's also 32 and he was scheduled to make over $7.5 million this year. That's an obvious cut. The Lions can easily find a veteran receiver as good as Burleson, or draft one. They definitely need a receiver, though, because now it is Calvin Johnson and nobody, with apologies to Kris Durham.
The release of Delmas is a bit more surprising, and a bit more disappointing to me. I like Delmas as a player. He's a really good safety, but he was also oft injured. When he played, he was top notch, but he played infrequently. He's only 26, so he still has time left in his career. It just may happen somewhere else. Delmas was scheduled to make $6.5 million, so this was another notable cut as the Lions try to figure out a way to get Ndamukong Suh signed long term, which is necessary. Of course, the Lions already were shorthanded in the secondary, and now that is even more the case.
The Lions just released two players who had genuine value for this team, and will likely continue to have some value, particularly Delmas. However, the NFL is a league that is financially built around keeping player salaries down and contracts non-guaranteed. Sometimes, you've got to make tough cuts to stay under the cap. That's what happened here. Things just got a bit tougher for Jim Caldwell.