The Detroit Lions' release of receiver Titus Young on Monday was a purely character-based decision. Tuesday, the Lions are continuing to slash their roster -- but in this case with an eye toward the salary cap.
Releasing right guard Stephen Peterman, as first reported by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, would save the Lions $3.25 million in cap space for 2013, according to data I've seen. Peterman started 48 consecutive games for the Lions over the past three years, but he is 31 and struggled as a pass blocker in 2012. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed more combined sacks, hits and hurries (45) than any NFL guard last season.
It's worth keeping an eye on several other veterans as the Lions seek additional cap space. The team could shave about just under $5 million of defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch's projected $10.6 million cap hit if they release him before a $2 million roster bonus is due next month, and they could get another $4 million if they release center Dominic Raiola. *Update: The Lions will release Vanden Bosch today, according to the team's web site reporter. I'll have more in a bit on this.
More than anything, those moves would give the Lions a much different look at offensive line after three full seasons of the same group. I'm not sure if they're prepared to initiate a full-scale overhaul of their offensive line this offseason, but hopefully you recall John Clayton's "Rule of 150" for offensive lines. It's coming at some point, if not immediately.
Clayton believes that if the combined ages of your starting offensive line is above 150, it's time to start rebuilding. The group the Lions finished the season with have a combined age of 157.
You figure that 2012 first-round draft pick Riley Reiff will be a starter in 2013, but it's not clear where. Peterman will soon be officially off the books. Right tackle Gosder Cherilus is a pending free agent, and left tackle Jeff Backus will be 36 in September. About the only lock to return is left guard Rob Sims. As we discussed last summer, the Lions claimed former Dallas Cowboys center Bill Nagy and stashed him on injured reserve. He could figure in the mix at guard or center. We'll update as warranted.