Detroit Lions: 10 Players Who Could Be Gone in 2016

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Sep 13, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Detroit Lions cornerback Rashean Mathis (31) smiles before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Rashean Mathis

The signing of Rashean Mathis was a stroke of genius as the Lions got two plus seasons out of him when many thought his career was over. Adding Mathis bought some time for the Lions to improve the roster elsewhere and wait for Darius Slay to emerge.

Slay has certainly emerged this season – particularly of late – but the time has come to find him a new partner at cornerback on the other side of the field. Young corners Nevin Lawson and Quandre Diggs have stepped up this season and deserve a shot at a bigger role heading into 2016 and the Lions still need to find out what they have in Alex Carter, whose rookie season was over before it started.

It remains to be seen if any of those young options on the roster have the upside to become a number one or two alongside Slay, so the possibility exists that the Lions add another young corner with playmaking ability in the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Lions are getting a look at what life after Mathis will look like with him on injured reserve to end the 2015 season. So far, the young guys are holding their own.

There are a number of ways the Lions could go about it, but the prudent thing to do is to get on with life after Rashean Mathis. He is under contract for 2016 after signing a two-year deal prior to the 2015 season but can save $1.5 million after accounting for dead money if Mathis is released.

Next: Tahir Whitehead