When it comes to the NFL, roster turnover is a very real thing as free agents move on and teams decide to cut players who they do not believe will fit on the roster moving forward.
This is especially true when a new regime comes in and that is exactly the position the Detroit Lions are in as the new league year quickly approaches.
There is no question about it that the Lions will have some cap casualties and The Athletic did a good job of putting together a list of players who could be looking for a new job within the next month.
Here are the six players The Athletic believes could be cut by March 17.
From The Athletic:
CB Desmond Trufant, 30
2020 stats: 6 games, 1 INT, 1 sack, 20 tackles, 1 TFL
The Lions would have to eat $6 million in dead money even if they made Trufant a post-June 1 cut, so they might decide to roll the dice. But a cap hit of $12 million-plus for a cornerback who hasn’t been able to stay healthy and now is on the wrong side of 30 is excessive. Trufant still can go make plays — he had four picks in nine games in ’19. He was on the field for just six games last season, though, and left those outings early on multiple occasions.
CB Justin Coleman, 27
2020 stats: 11 games, 0 interceptions, 0 sacks, 30 tackles, 3 TFL
A big-ticket signing for Detroit in 2019, Coleman played extremely well over the first half of that year. His play fell off down the stretch, however, and 2020 was a complete disappointment. Quarterbacks had a 135.8 rating throwing his direction last season, connecting on 35 of 45 attempts. The Lions can’t justify an $11 million cap hit for a slot corner who can’t hang with speed receivers. Coleman could be set up for a bounce-back year in 2021, but odds are it will happen elsewhere.
TE Jesse James, 26
2020 stats: 16 games, 14 receptions, 129 yards, 2 TDs
Blame it on James or the Lions’ staff for failing to utilize him or former GM Bob Quinn for seeing something that wasn’t there, but the four-year, $22.6 million deal James signed in 2019 has been a disaster. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell promised to get James more involved last season, and James finished with 14 catches for 129 yards. He’s a block-first, inline option. That combo might appeal to Dan Campbell, but not for what the Lions would have to pay here.
DT Nick Williams, 30
2020 stats: 14 games, 1 sack, 23 tackles, 2 TFL, 3 QB hits
Williams wound up playing almost 50 percent of Detroit’s defensive snaps, many of them as part of their 3-4 base defense. But the Lions signed him off a surprise career year with Chicago (6.0 sacks) in hopes that he could spark their woeful interior pass rush. He wound up with one sack and three QB hits despite starting 13 games.
QB Chase Daniel, 34
2020 stats: 4 games, 29-for-43, 264 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Can the longtime backup milk more money out of this thing before he hangs ’em up? He might not be a bad option to have behind Jared Goff, were it not for the absurd $5.3 million cap hit he’d carry in 2021. Daniel can help in the QBs room, but he barely held off David Blough for the No. 2 job last year … and he probably would have lost that race had the Lions not just handed him a bloated contract.
LB Christian Jones, 29
2020 stats: 16 games, 57 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 QB hit
There is value in a jack-of-all-trades linebacker like Jones — he played on the edge quite a bit last year after more of an off-ball role in 2019. He didn’t make all that much of an impact for Detroit’s defense, though. The coaching staff scaled back his opportunities to drop in coverage because he struggled there, but he also didn’t get to the QB or set the edge all that well. Good depth. Possibly an extraneous piece for a team that needs to remake its linebacker position.
Nation, which of these players do you think the Lions should cut?