Mayhew: Burleson and Williams ‘important part of our football team’

Posted by ttwentyman on February 27, 2012 – 5:09 pm

In the salary cap era of the NFL, good teams are forced to make tough decisions on veteran players and turn to their young ones quicker than they’d probably like.

It’s no secret the Lions will be up against the cap in 2012 and that’s led to some speculation that players like receiver Nate Burleson and defensive tackle Corey Williams could be salary cap casualties this offseason.

The salary cap can certainly force tough decisions on an up-and-coming franchise like the Lions, but here’s hoping they don’t have to go that route.

Not only are Burleson and Williams two of the most stand-up guys in the locker room, they’re still key productive players.

Head coach Jim Schwartz has been trying to find three quality receivers to pair together since he got here in 2009.

Anyone remember Bryant Johnson and Derrick Williams?

The Lions finally seem to have a great trio for quarterback Matthew Stafford in Calvin Johnson, Burleson and Titus Young. Burleson had 73 receptions last year, a career high.

It doesn’t show up on the stat sheet all the time, but Williams is constantly grading out as the best defensive lineman on the field when coaches sit down and watch the game film.

Williams will make $5 million in 2012 and Burleson $4 million.

The team drafted Young and defensive tackle Nick Fairley last season, so I see why the speculation surrounds Burleson and Williams. But losing them would be a bigger loss than fans think.

“Those guys are leaders in our locker room and a very important part of our football team,” Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said at the NFL Scouting Combine when asked about Burleson and Williams.

“I have reached out to both their agents and told them that at this time we have no plans to do anything with their contracts and we’re happy with their performance and happy with what they bring to our team and our locker room.

“Both of them have been very professional the whole time they’ve been here and they have been a good example for our younger players.”

There’s no telling what tough decisions the Lions might face when their salary cap situation becomes more clear in the coming months, but they’re a better football team in 2012 with Burleson and Williams in uniform.

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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 13 Comments »

13 Responses to “Mayhew: Burleson and Williams ‘important part of our football team’”

  1. By Eddie Hiller on Feb 27, 2012 | Reply

    We need to keep Nate. He has been a big assett to us.

  2. By jordan on Feb 27, 2012 | Reply

    gotta keep nate gotta

  3. By tony kayden on Feb 27, 2012 | Reply

    I think we definitely need to keep both of them. Williams has been steady throughout the year. Fairley had that foot injury, and if it reoccurs, and we lost Williams, we’d be losing a key player on our d-line.

    As far as Burleson, he’s a great player and a great motivator to the younger players. But if it came down to losing him, Williams or Cliff Avril due to the cap, I feel we’re strong at receivers, and though it would be a very tough call, one I wouldn’t want to make, because I would hate to see Nate go, it might be the best choice because of the age factor and both Williams and Avril can still play a big part for Detroit in future seasons to come.

  4. By Lance McCray on Feb 27, 2012 | Reply

    Thats easy. If I had to choose between the three, its avril. Avril only put up the numbers he did this season was cause of the d-line. I think young and jackson can do a decent job in his place. We need nate and williams.

  5. By Dylan Manion on Feb 27, 2012 | Reply

    Gotta keep Nate! Recepticon and Megatron baby!!

  6. By ivan on Feb 27, 2012 | Reply

    we need to cut jahvid best and mo morris, morris does nothing and makes 2 mill for it and jahvid had 2 concussions on hits that werent that bad so i beleive he is just about done they will happen again. i think we can get rainey or james in the 3rd or so round to replace the both of them

  7. By Nick Hawley on Feb 27, 2012 | Reply

    The Lions have a tough call to make, but if you want a veteran receiver that comes up clutch and can back up his babble, they should seek out T.O. The other veterans will keep him in line as I’m sure he has felt humility already with his arena league only fellowship. He’s cheap, is a great compliment to Megatron, and is in great shape considering his age and injury. He caught 3 TD’s on his last arena game…so why the hell not?!?

  8. By Terrell Fesler on Feb 28, 2012 | Reply

    We do not need Burleson. First he made many mistakes last year that cost us dearly including horrible penalties and untimely fumbles. Second and most importantly, we have a healthy Stafford. The Elite teams with Elite Qbs dont typically spend much money on multiple WR’s because the QB makes them so much better IE. Tom Brady with every receiver he has ever had besides Moss. Williams is much more important IMO

  9. By Don on Feb 28, 2012 | Reply

    We need Nate and Cory Williams! both of them are exactly what Mayhew say’s in the fact of Motvation and skill.
    And I want Avril to stay here also.Right now I just hope that our free agents and the team can work deals out to make them all happy.
    And I hope that the Player’s would work hard with the Team to get it done knowing how the team sits with the salary Cap. Hopefully they can work out something you know like only this much this year and this much next year and a little more the next year and a little more the next year and a little more the next year. Anything to keep this Team together. This Team is Getting to good to tear it up over the Money! Of coarse that is easy for me to say.
    I still love that line by Cuba Gooding Jr. “Show Me the Money” (: And I hope that this team Can show them All the Money, I just don’t know by what’s been said if they can give it the way that the players want it?
    Anyway’s, GO LIONS!

  10. By Doug on Feb 28, 2012 | Reply

    Let Avril go if he’s gonna walk over money, He only looks so good because of the system and playing next to Suh and Van offences have to focus so much on them. Any good DE can wreck when the Oline is sliding away form them.

  11. By Cory on Feb 28, 2012 | Reply

    Williams and Burleson are too important to become salary cap casualties this season. I’d love to keep Avril, but if if it’s going to cost upwards of 9-10 mill a year, I don’t know that it’s worth it. He’s a fine young pass rusher, but he benefits greatly from opposing O-lines having to worry about the DT’s from the Lions.

    I hate to say it, but if it takes cutting KVB (cap number of 5 mill the next two seasons) to fit Avril, Williams and Burleson (and the new deal Megatron’s bound to receive) I think it’s a move that has to be made. KVB’s been a huge part of the turnaround over the past few seasons, but in order to keep a solid young nucleus of players he might have to get axed.

  12. By Jon on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    If they end up having to let guys go from last year’s team for salary cap reasons, I can think of 4 guys who should get walking papers before C. Williams, Burleson, and Avril. All of these guys already make $3-plus million/year, as far as I know.

    1. Stephen Peterman. He’s 30, and has never been more than an average guard since Rod Marinelli brought him in 6 years ago. Leonard Davis or Dylan Gandy would be good short-term band-aids, & we can draft a good G in the 3rd or 4th rd.
    2. Gosder Cherilus. I know a lot of people agree with me on this one. He was a 1st-rounder, but seems to have worn out his welcome with nothing but mediocre play. Hold a 3-way competition for his spot between Hilliard, Fox, and Culbreath.
    3. Stephen Tulloch. Yes, he is the best MLB the Lions have had since Stephen Boyd, and everyone seems to like him (including me). The problem is that he is a good-not-great MLB who wants to be paid like Brian Urlacher. Maybe it’s just me, but the run defense seemed tougher in 2010 with a starting LB trio of Carpenter-Levy-Palmer than it did this past year after bringing in Tulloch and Durant. I say put the Brinks truck of cash that Tulloch wants and put it toward re-signing Avril, if they can’t afford both of them.
    4. Shaun Hill. His contract is up, and I see no reason to bring him back. He made $3 million last year for holding a clipboard. I understand the need for a good #2 QB with Stafford’s injury history, but Stanton is a hometown favorite and would make a capable #2 for much less cash than Hill would command.

  13. By Detroit Lions Junkie on May 18, 2012 | Reply

    This was much welcomed new. Corey Williams and Nate have been nothing but productive players and positive influences on our young guys.

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