- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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If you happened to take an Internet break over the past seven days -- and let's face it, at some point everyone could use a break from information -- you missed a lot when it comes to the world of the Detroit Lions.
You also happened to come back at the right time, as prospects, agents, media and representatives from every NFL team will be making their way to Indianapolis this week for the annual scouting combine, where workout legends are made and players are routinely overrated and underrated every year.
So here's a quick look at what you might have forgotten about or glossed over from the week that was and what to expect for the week to come.
Let's start with transactions. The Lions finally managed to push themselves under the cap, but it meant the release of veteran wide receiver Nate Burleson and starting safety Louis Delmas, both of whom had high cap numbers and one year left on their contracts. The releases of Burleson and Delmas mean a definitive leadership shift in the Detroit locker room for 2014, as the two players were often viewed as the emotional centers of the Lions' offense and defense.
Those releases plus the establishment of center Dominic Raiola's 2014 cap number of $1.5 million likely gives Detroit a little more than $3 million in cap room heading into the new league year on March 11.
Chances are, there will be more maneuvering from Detroit between now and then, either in contract restructures, player cap casualty releases or perhaps that long-sought Ndamukong Suh long-term extension.
Speaking of that extension, this week could be a big week for it. Everyone is in Indianapolis and discussions about free agents and prospects are sure to take place. The wrinkle with Suh is he may or may not have hired an agent after firing Eugene Parker and Roosevelt Barnes, and no one from the potential agency, Roc Nation Sports, has been commenting about who his representation actually is.
Suh has a $22.4 million cap figure for 2014 and how soon the team can remedy that will severely impact how the Lions can improve areas they need to for 2014.
In Indianapolis, Detroit will be focusing on a bunch of different position groups, although the wide receiver corps and secondary will receive the most attention.
The Lions need to find complements for Calvin Johnson and now a replacement for Burleson in the slot. In the secondary, Teryl Austin has said his team can never have enough cornerbacks and add that to the release of Delmas, and improving the secondary is paramount entering Austin's first season as a NFL defensive coordinator.
So who might the team look at? This receiver class is unbelievably deep, so this could give the team some room to trade down from No. 10 if it wanted to or stay put if there is a receiver they like at that spot. Clemson's Sammy Watkins, the top receiver in the draft, isn't expected to be available at No. 10, so the team will have to make a decision whether Texas A&M's Mike Evans or USC's Marqise Lee, among others, are worth the No. 10 pick. This week will really push forward that evaluation process. But with 14 receivers in ESPN's Top 100 players and 22 in the Top 150, the Lions will have some options to consider. A sleeper name to watch -- Watkins' teammate, Martavis Bryant. He has the size and speed that, if available in the third round or later, could be a steal.
If not receiver, then secondary is an area the team could address. Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix went from a luxury to potentially a priority at safety and both Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert and Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard will get looks. All three of those players could be ideal candidates for Detroit even if it were to trade down a few slots.
Expect Detroit to also look heavily at center -- Oklahoma's Gabe Ikard could be a target -- tight end, defensive line and linebacker throughout the draft. A quarterback could also be in play, but that likely wouldn't come until the third day of the draft considering the team's other needs and investment in Matthew Stafford.
A week from now, a lot of Detroit's plans over the next handful of months could become much clearer.