Detroit Lions: 10 Players Who Could Be Gone in 2016

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Nov 22, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Oakland Raiders tight end Clive Walford (88) catches a pass as Detroit Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch (55) defends at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Tulloch

There can be an argument about whether or not any culture change has ever taken place within the Lions organization but one of the important personnel moves to help bring the Lions out of the shadow of the 0-16 season was the signing of Stephen Tulloch in free agency prior to the 2011 season.

The reunion with Jim Schwartz proved beneficial as the Lions made a playoff appearance and while Tulloch has largely been a steady player during his Lions tenure, he has taken a noticeable step back this season, his 10th in the NFL.

Tulloch has been good against the run but has repeatedly been a liability when asked to drop into coverage and his playing time has suffered as a result. Taking a step back to being an effective role player would be fine if not for a 2016 cap number of $7.3 million.

It is possible Tulloch could stick with the Lions by taking a significant paycut. He is one of the most involved Lions in community and charity functions so he may be interested in staying put, but that would also require interest from the Lions end in retaining an aging linebacker with a diminishing role.

That may not be something the new general manager has on his to do list. Releasing Tulloch would save the Lions $6 million on next season’s salary cap after accounting for dead money.

Next: Brandon Pettigrew