Lions Dead Money Skyrockets After Release of Jamie Collins

Jamie Collins

Getty Jamie Collins behind a Washington player in 2020.

The Detroit Lions couldn’t find a taker for linebacker Jamie Collins via trade, and as a result, had to release him on Wednesday, September 28.

That move might end up being a good thing for the Lions in the long term given the experience it will provide their young players at the position like Derrick Barnes and Jalen Reeves-Maybin, both of whom played a bigger role in Week 3 to get their careers off to a solid start on defense.

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The move, though, does come with a bit of a downside to the Lions. The decision to release Collins rather than find a trade taker will end up costing Detroit in terms of dead cap space. This season, after the Collins release, the Lions have a whopping $55 million in dead cap money, which is a very staggering total. The majority of that amount is coming from a handful of players which account for $38 million of the total according to Chris Burke of The Athletic.

Collins will also count $6.6 million against the cap in 2022 as Spotrac explained, but by then, most of Detroit’s other dead cap cases will have cleared. Paying $55 million to players not on the roster in 2021 is a painful reality which shows the struggles the last regime had, but for a team that is not contending, it is simply a necessary evil at this point to help in the turnover of the roster.

Why Lions Released Rather Than Traded Collins

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported the latest on Collins’ case on Sunday, September 26, and said that while teams did have interest, they know the Lions are desperate to move on from the player, which could put them in a position to eventually cut Collins rather than make a deal.

The Lions didn’t want to keep continuing to sit Collins out, so patience simply ran out for the team after the weekend, which is a sentiment that was backed up by NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport. As Rapoport reported, the Lions kept Collins so that they could see if a linebacker needy team arose and would bite. It never happened.

It was not a surprise, then, that the Lions would have trouble dealing Collins given teams knew Detroit was operating from a position of little leverage. At this point, the team simply had to release Collins knowing this news, even in spite of the total it adds to their dead cap ledger for 2021.

Eventually, the Lions cap situation will clear up in the near future, but for now, the move with Collins simply was another necessary move all things considered.

Collins’ NFL Stats and Highlights

Obviously, it’s hard to blame the Lions for thinking that Collins had the chops to pull off a major career resurgence given all he has done in the league. Collins has been a solid performer in the NFL for years. He started with the New England Patriots where he got to know former Lions coach Matt Patricia, and later was traded to the Cleveland Browns for a few seasons before he got released and signed back in New England. After that, he signed in Detroit. Prior to the Lions, Collins had racked up 577 tackles, 24.5 sacks and registered 16 forced fumbles as well as 10 interceptions. Last season in Detroit, Collins had 101 tackles, 1 interception and 1 sack.

In terms of edge rush ability, Collins has always possessed that as this highlight shows:

Jamie Collins – 13 tackles & 1.5 sacks – NFL 2019 Week 8 – New England Patriots vs Cleveland BrownsThanks for watching! If you enjoyed it, please like & subscribe for more great content! Follow me on Twitter: @BostonSport12 Go Boston!2019-10-28T10:03:45Z

Now, Collins will have to take that talent elsewhere in the days ahead after being given his release by the Lions. In the meantime, he will still be costing the team some money.

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