Lions Release Productive Veteran Linebacker From Roster

Christian Jones

Getty Christian Jones goes in for a sack of Aaron Rodgers.

The Detroit Lions have to find a way to cut costs for the future to get their team solvent for this coming season, and there are going to be some massive moves in terms of releases coming.

Officially, the team got the offseason going with a pair of modest moves. The Lions revealed they had cut linebacker Christian Jones and offensive lineman Russell Bodine from the roster while re-signing cornerback Mike Ford.

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Ford was a quality depth player for the Lions, so adding him to fortify the defensive backfield makes sense given the depth that group could lose in the coming weeks. Bodine seemed like a spare piece for the Lions and their offensive front.

Cutting Jones will only save the Lions about $2.5 million against the cap for the 2021 season thanks to the fact that he will count for around $2.2 million in dead money, but it was a move that the team had to make considering Jones’ production and his bloated contract, which was just signed during the 2019 season. Cutting Bodine will save the Lions around $850,000.

With Jones on the move and Detroit perhaps electing to let Jarrad Davis walk in free agency, it’s clear that linebacker is going to be a huge need for the team.

Christian Jones Stats

Jones came to Detroit two offseasons ago from the Chicago Bears where he excelled to start his career. Since joining the Lions, the team has to feel as if Jones needed to do a bit more to justify his contract. Jones has a total of 177 tackles, but only 7 tackles for-loss and 3 sacks in his Detroit career. That’s not exactly what the Lions were banking on from a production standpoint when they signed him early on in free agency a few years back.

As a whole, Jones has a total of 421 tackles, 7 sacks and 16 passes defended in his career. He’s regarded as one of the better leaders in the Detroit locker room, but with a new staff and front office coming into the mix, that won’t save Jones at this point in time given his play and cap number.

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Lions 2021 Cap Space

At the moment, without a firm idea of what the cap will look like, the lions are looking at about -$6 million or so in cap space based on a cap floor of $180 million. That could be a total the league is looking at. While full salary details are not yet known, the carryover space means the Lions could be working with just around $6 million in cap space for next season at this very moment in time. Adding in the expected release total from Desmond Trufant’s release of of $6 million and a potential restructure from Jamie Collins and the Lions could quickly be back in the positive as it relates to cap space.

The Lions can make plenty of moves to expand their cap situation in the coming days. Some other expensive players who could figure to be on the bubble to get released? Tight end Jesse James, cornerback Justin Coleman and possibly defensive lineman Danny Shelton.

With that in mind, Jones might not be the last big move the team makes.

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