The Detroit Lions have told cornerback Desmond Trufant that he will be released at the beginning of the league year, which begins March 17, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Trufant, 30, signed a two-year, $ 20 million deal with the Lions before the 2020 season to replace Darius Slay, who was traded to Philadelphia. Detroit still owes him $ 3.5 million in guaranteed money for 2021.
It never worked out for Trufant, who was the Week 1 starter, as he spent most of the season with hamstring problems that limited him to six games, one interception and four passes defended. He also ended up in a playing time battle with rookie first-round pick Jeff Okudah and second-year pro Amani Oruwariye for outside places. Trufant’s role as the number one corner was in doubt for the 2021 season.
With Oruwariye and Okudah under contract for the foreseeable future and much younger, that made the 30-year-old Trufant expendable. He was scheduled to earn $ 9.5 million in cash in 2021 and carry a maximum cap of $ 12.5 million.
By firing him, the Lions saved $ 3 million in cap space, and if you designate it as a post-June 1 cut, $ 6.5 million. It will carry a maximum charge of $ 6 million for Lions this year, according to the Roster Management System.
Trufant’s release helps the Lions clear cap space after Matthew Stafford’s trade for Jared Goff.
On Tuesday, head coach Dan Campbell said the Lions needed competition at cornerback.
“We need competition in that area. We need depth in areas,” Campbell said. “We need competition. I mean, just because, for example, we have two young cornerbacks, man, you still want competition. You want guys who have to compete.” [with] that they are able to push them, or are pushing for that starting position. I mean, it’s just healthy. It makes you better. “
Trufant, the former first-round pick for Atlanta in 2013, made the Pro Bowl in 2015 and has started the 103 games he’s played in during his career, making 14 interceptions with 83 passes defended, 3 forced fumbles and 7 recoveries from loose balls. He played everything but last season with the Falcons.