The off-season direction became a bit more clear this weekend as the Detroit Lions cut veterans Nate Burleson and Louis Delmas. Both players were considered locker room leaders but recent injuries limited both players on the field.
Burleson’s injury was the most published. He broke his arm in an early season pizza accident errrr…car accident leaving the Lions scrambling for a secondary wide receiver. The move wasn’t much of a surprise to Burleson after missing most of the last two seasons with injuries.
They probably just thought about the number financially and then probably thought about the season and said, ‘If Nate’s healthy, yeah, he can probably give us 70 to 80 catches, but if he’s not then it’s going to be tough to deal with,’” Burleson said. “I think it hurt the team this year when I went down. You saw a really significant drop in just how we were able to operate as an offense because I was such a big part. But it’s a hard decision for them to make, but I can’t blame them for making it.”
Safety Louis Delmas also received a pink slip. Delmas played in all 16 games this season but was severely limited during practice hindering his production during games.
The moves freed up around 11 million in cap space. That was critical if the team plans to sign Ndamukong Suh to an extension.
Prior to making the cuts the Lions already had needs at wide receiver and in the secondary. Don’t expect the Lions draft needs to change as a result of these cuts. The Lions, who are despaate for cap space, will need to fill these holes with low cost options in the upcoming draft. In fact, the Lions may be even more willing to draft a wide receiver like Sammy Watkins with their first round pick now that Nate Burleson is moving on.