- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Detroit Lions reporter
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Every day we'll take a look at one of the Detroit Lions heading for free agency, what he has meant to the team before and a prognosis on whether he'll be back with the club in 2015. Previous free agents profiled are here.
Free agent to be: Cassius Vaughn
Years in the league: 5
What he made last season: He had a base salary of $730,000 with no signing bonus. His cap charge last season was $570,000 according to ESPN Stats & Information.
What he did last season: Vaughn made the roster as a backup outside corner but after season-ending injuries to Bill Bentley and Nevin Lawson, he became the team's nickel cornerback for a good portion of the season. He earned the role full-time after the team cut Danny Gorrer midseason. He had 17 tackles and two interceptions last season. Pro Football Focus had him as the No. 80 cornerback. According to PFF, opponents completed 32 of 43 passes against Vaughn for 472 yards and three touchdowns. He also had two interceptions and defended three passes. His rating -- where lower is better -- was 113.7.
His potential market value: Not terribly high. Vaughn had some strong play during the season but also struggled at points with his inside corner role. He didn't fare much better on the outside when he had to play there. He can probably get into a camp and with a team this season, but he shouldn't command much more than the vet minimum salary.
Will he fit the Lions: Probably not. He was a flexible backup last season but was behind both Bentley and Lawson in the slot. Assuming both come back healthy, he'd remain there if he returned. He also is a player who should not be elevated to any sort of starting corner status by the Lions. Decent player, but the Lions could search for a younger upgrade in the draft.
What happens: If Vaughn comes back, it's likely to compete with Bentley and maybe another veteran for a roster spot since it would seem highly unlikely he'd take one from Darius Slay, Lawson or whatever cornerback the team signs in free agency or drafts to line up opposite Slay. His best bet, probably, is to go to another team if there is a place available.
Cassius Vaughn had some strong play during the Lions' season but also struggled at points with his inside corner role.