It has been an extremely active for the Detroit Lions in regards to their roster, though most of the moves were expected. The Lions cut ties with five players today, most notably, kicker David Akers. Others released were all reserves including special teams ace John Wendling, defensive end Isreal Idonije, offensive lineman Dylan Gandy and backup linebacker Rocky McIntosh. Coach Jim Caldwell would not comment on players that the team has not spoken directly to, a list which includes cornerback Rashean Mathis who started for the team for most of the one season he spent with the Lions.
Akers was expected to be cut after having the second worst season of his career going 19-24 on field goals and inspiring little to no confidence when lining up for a field goal.
The Lions seemed to replace Wendling, their special teams captain for the last two seasons with former New Orleans Saints safety Isa Abdul-Quddus to a one year 645,000. Joe Lombardi pitched him to Lions general manager Martin Mayhew, as did Lions special teams coach John Bonamego. He is not expected to be a defensive presence, the Lions signed him to produce on special teams and they will still be in the market for a safety to replace Louis Delmas.
Kris Durham and Jeremy Ross were announced as reserved rights free agents that the Lions will re-sign, to one year league minimum contracts. Ross provided much of the offense in the Lions embarrassing snow-bowl loss the Philadelphia Eagles this year, all via special teams and averaged 16.2 yards per punt return and 29.3 yards per kick return. At a league minimum salary, he is a steal for the Lions. Durham is a somewhat productive wide receiver who was thrust into a starting position last year when he is better suited as a third or fourth option at the position. His size makes him intriguing, but his potential is limited, but certainly worth retaining at the league minimum.
Mayhew also said he expects that a new contract with Ndamukong Suh will be reached before free agency starts on March 11th. The only real holdup appears to be that Suh hasn’t officially decided on a new agent. Mayhew said they can work around Suh’s 22 million dollar salary cap number if they have to, but doesn’t expect it to remain an issue for much longer.