4 players the Detroit Lions may release to create additional cap space

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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Detroit Lions, Trey Flowers
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The Detroit Lions should consider releasing veteran edge-rusher Trey Flowers.

When Bob Quinn signed Trey Flowers, it seemed like a match made in heaven for the Detroit Lions.  Flowers excelled in Bill Belichick’s defensive scheme, and with Patricia calling the shots, this couldn’t go sour; but it did.

If you recall, back in 2019, Flowers had been considered the top free agent in his class by many accounts but injuries and a lack of talent surrounding him have impaired his production.  Flowers signed a five-year $90 million deal with Detroit that offseason, and now it’s time to politely part ways with the 28-year old defensive end.

Flowers carries a gigantic $23.2 million cap hit this upcoming season, and the Detroit Lions can save about half of that if they decide to release him.  If the Lions cut Flowers, his dead cap number next season will be $12.8 million, and the total money saved against the cap comes in at $10.386 million.

The Lions also have Romeo Okwara under contract, plus could re-sign pending free agent Charles Harris with savings.  Moving on from Flowers will also open the door for Julian Okwara and Austin Bryant to see a few more reps.  It could be a last chance in Detroit type of situation next season for a player like Bryant who hasn’t played up to expectations when he is available.

Pro Football Focus is usually very kind to Flowers, but in 2021 he only garnered a career-worst overall grade of 64.6 this season.

The Detroit Lions are in a unique position, as they currently sit with the no. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.  The Lions will be able to immediately replace Flowers with a rookie edge-rusher if they so choose, and the odds on favorite at this moment is Michigan’s, Aidan Hutchinson.

Hutchinson is a plug-and-play player and would have an opportunity to make an impact on Aaron Glenn’s defense from day one.  If Hutchinson is unavailable, or if the organization prefers, Kayvon Thibodeaux also has the makings of a stellar pass-rusher.

I presume Flowers has played his final snap in a Detroit Lions’ uniform, and you all know where I’d expect him to land next season if he is indeed released.