Lions will release Nate Burleson, Louis Delmas to save cap space

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

With salary cap complications for next season, Detroit is making moves to get back in the black.

UPDATE (3:30 p.m. ET): The Lions will also release safety Louis Delmas on Thursday, Birkett reports. By cutting both players, the Lions will save $11.5 million in salary cap space.

Delmas, a second-round selection by the Lions in 2009, is entering his sixth year in the league. He played in all 16 games for the first time in 2013, just one year after appearing in eight games due to knee surgery. He will be one of the top safeties available once free agency starts.

The Detroit Lions have told wide receiver Nate Burleson that he is being released in order to save cap room, per the Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett. The move saves the Lions roughly $5.5 million for next season and given recent projections, would officially have them under the 2014 NFL salary cap, though more moves seem likely.

Burleson responded, saying that he can't blame the team for releasing him and that he intends to play in 2014.

Entering what would be his 12th season in the NFL, Burleson played in nine games last season, catching 39 passes for 461 yards and a touchdown. He missed seven games with a broken arm suffered in a car accident. Burleson has not topped 1,000 yards in a season since 2004 when he was with the Minnesota Vikings. The former third-round pick out of Nevada signed a lucrative free agent deal with the Seattle Seahawks in 2006, but was a significant disappointment throughout his four years with Seattle.

He bounced back with the Lions as a locker room presence and reliable second target next to Calvin Johnson, though he has never quite been able to live up to the promise he showed 10 years ago during his second season in the league. The Lions may target a wide receiver early in the NFL Draft, as they are very thin at the position after Johnson.

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