Younger. Slimmer. More consistent.
Each of those terms could separately be used to describe the philosophy behind the Detroit Lions' busy start to their first week of the offseason. Starters Titus Young, Stephen Peterman and Kyle Vanden Bosch were all released quickly, showing the Lions are serious about creating a new vision.
Considering the recent production issues each of these players had, these moves were not surprising. Young, as expected, wore out his welcome in Detroit after his highly publicized season of insubordination. There was no trade value present, given the fact teams wouldn't be willing to give so much as a low round draft pick for a player with a perpetual bad attitude.
Peterman (31) and Vanden Bosch (34), despite their steady appearances, were each wildly overrated in 2012, and now neither can say they have time on their side. Right guard could stand a massive upgrade from Peterman, who has been prone to penalties and inconsistent play. Vanden Bosch, despite a contract which pays him nearly $4 million dollars, only contributed 3.5 sacks, which was a major step down from his 2011 number (8). For a veteran and a 13-game starter, that steady drop production was unacceptable. Each was due bonuses in the new year, perhaps making this decision easier.
So, both will now hit the road and eventually be replaced. As a result, the Lions will shave nearly $8.5 million dollars off their 2013 salary, and they can make way for some players who might provide better production for the money invested in them. Given all the trouble of last season, Martin Mayhew had to start making moves in a hurry. If he didn't, he ran the risk of furthering complacent attitudes in the organization.
Who's next? That's anyone's guess. It's been speculated that Dominic Raiola could be going. The Lions are in a saving mood, and he'd clear another $4 million from the books, so stay tuned for potential news in the coming days. Also watch safety Louis Delmas, who is a free agent and might not be returning.
The Lions have some holes to fill, but with these initial moves, they'll likely become a better team as a whole. Think of Monday and Tuesday as organizational streamlining day. First, the Lions cut the cocky young hotshot with potential due to his definitive attitude problems. Then, they let go a couple of steady veterans, each of whom was overpaid in their current roles. These might be sad moves if they happened around your water cooler, but they're necessary moves for the health and betterment of a football team.
With three cuts, a busy offseason full of roster changes is now officially underway. Surprisingly, it appears like drastic changes are in order and no one is safe.
It's about time.
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