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.
Tags: Corey Williams, Nate Burleson
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 13 Comments »