Former 1st Round Pick Revealed Lions’ Biggest Offseason Cut Candidate

Dan Campbell

Getty Dan Campbell on the field for the Lions during the 2022 season.

The Detroit Lions have begun to assemble a talented, young roster, and as that happens, there will be some difficult decisions coming down the pipe very soon.

Already, some situations are beginning to show themselves as potentially vital for the team in terms of finding more cap space for the 2023 season. Within a piece at Pro Football Focus, a breakdown of the offseason has been provided for all teams.

As the site explained, Brockers didn’t see the field much in 2022 even though he was a team captain, but he could be the most obvious cut candidate right now the team has.

“Brockers was routinely made a healthy scratch down the stretch of the 2022 season, and the veteran — voted a defensive captain by his teammates after just one season with the team — was brought aboard by general manager Brad Holmes in large part because of his leadership,” the site said.

Specifically, in the mind of PFF, Brockers has bottomed out in terms of his performance on the field relative to his age and how he was graded for his work on the field last year.

“Brockers’ 40.6 grade in 2021 was a career low by a wide margin, and he was surpassed on the depth chart while turning 32 this season,” the piece further explained.

From this point, Brockers could always decide to retire, but given his cap number of around $13.9 million for 2023, it’s clear that he might not have a future with the team relative to the amount of time he sees on the field.

To this end, he could be the player the Lions choose to release first when all is said and done this offseason.

Brockers Could Move on for 2023 Season

Unfortunately, as a result of these factors, Brockers might be on the team’s chopping block after the season.

At 32 years old, he is likely in the sunset of what has been a brilliant career, which started in 2012 when he was a first-round pick of the then St. Louis Rams out of LSU.

Brockers has gone on to put up 451 total tackles, 29 sacks, 10 passes defended and two forced fumbles in his career with both Los Angeles and Detroit. He’s been to the Super Bowl and as detailed, a veteran leader the team has been able to count on. He did have some quality plays in the past, as well.

VideoVideo related to former 1st round pick revealed lions’ biggest offseason cut candidate2023-02-21T08:51:27-05:00

When playing for the Lions in 2021, the team saw Brockers bring some of his patented pocket pressure as well as his leadership to the team. During the 2021-22 season, he put up 52 tackles and 1 sack for the team playing 16 games. Those numbers cratered in 2022, and he played in just six games with five starts, putting up four tackles and one pass defended.

The Lions could get younger at defensive tackle, and that could put Brockers on the outside looking in this offseason. His salary for 2023 stands at $13,975,000 and releasing him would come with a $3,975,000 dead cap hit.

Brockers Deserves Praise for Leadership

Even if the Lions make the decision some see as necessary to cut Brockers, folks should remember that the team got more than just statistical play from him.

Brockers was often a fantastic leader for a team that was the youngest in the NFL, and takes pride in the fact that he was able to be that kind of player for the Lions right after his arrival.

Speaking to Tim Twentymn of on the Twentyman in the Huddle podcast, Brockers, who was a team captain in 2022 that only saw action sparingly in six total games with five starts, admitted that he has come to learn in Detroit that his most important role was that of a leader and perhaps not as a player.

VideoVideo related to former 1st round pick revealed lions’ biggest offseason cut candidate2023-02-21T08:51:27-05:00

“For me, being the leader is what got me here. It wasn’t my ability. I think Dan (Campbell) saw that he was coming into a new regime, new outlook and he wanted a veteran that can keep the locker room together and show the guys what the true professional is all about. That’s what I was there to prove,” Brockers told Twentyman. “It was a little struggle at first, but I just had to realize what my purpose on the team was and what my value was and I think it was really just showing the guys what a professional was all about. Coming into work even though you know you’re not playing, being bought into the system and just showing that it doesn’t matter what goes on, you got to be a professional about your business. That obviously showed the second-half of the season.”

In a world of athletes that are ego-driven, Brockers’ team-first approach has been a leadership masterclass. If the Lions continue to push things in the right direction and do end up winners, Brockers isn’t likely to be around when it happens. He will still deserve a ton of the credit for leading the room as he has and helping young players to have good habits.

During cut season, this is important to remember, especially in the case of Brockers, who has been a fantastic teammate for the Lions.

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