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 Nate done as a Lion? 
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Post Nate done as a Lion?
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TWENTYMAN: Burleson faces uncertain future with Lions

Posted 8 hours ago

Tim Twentyman Senior Writer Follow Tim on Twitter Follow Tim on Google+

Nate Burleson is owed $5.5 million in base salary in 2014
Nate BurlesonWR Nate Burleson (Photo: G. Smith/Detroit Lions)

There are a lot of changes on the horizon for the Detroit Lions after the team decided to part ways with head coach Jim Schwartz on Monday.

The Lions have a profile of what they want in their next head coach and have already begun the process of finding him. Once that process is done, the other dominoes will begin to fall in terms of the coaching staff and the roster.

Veteran receiver Nate Burleson has been around long enough to know how the business side of football works, especially in situations like this.

Burelson, who caught 39 passes for 416 yards and two touchdowns in eight games, is entering the final season of a five-year, $25 million contract he signed before the 2010 season. He's slated to earn a base salary of $5.5 million in 2014 and the Lions will have some decisions to make on his and other veteran players' futures with the team.

There will be changes in 2014 and Burleson knows that very well could include him.

"I'm willing to (take a pay cut) regardless," Burleson said. "I put that out there early. That's pretty much the only option. Take less money or release me. I'm willing to do that.

"I'll definitely renegotiate and try to outwork my contract, just because I love this team. But at the end of the day I don't control any of that, especially with a new guy coming in."

The players cleaned out their lockers on Monday and said their goodbyes and made plans for offseason rendezvous and workout schedules.

Burleson made his away around the locker room joking with teammates, not knowing if it'll be the last time he gets that opportunity or not.

"The future was probably easier to determine an hour ago," Burleson said shortly after Schwartz was fired Monday. "Or at least take a guess at it that I had a good chance of coming back. Now, you just never know."

Burleson seemed okay with the uncertainly surrounding his future, though. It almost seemed like he was reserved to the fact that making a return in 2014 is more of a long shot at this point.

"I'm good with that," he said. "I think the only thing that I don't feel good about is leaving the team and leaving the city. Leaving my crew and the people that love me here and I love them.

"As far as football, though, four years with a team is hard to do these days. Hopefully we get a new guy and he says, ‘Yeah, I love Nate' and he gives me a high five."


December 31st, 2013, 10:47 pm
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Post Re: Nate done as a Lion?
He's got a $7 million cost... it'll save 5 to cut.. so he's gone.


January 1st, 2014, 1:03 am
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Post Re: Nate done as a Lion?
I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of overhaul or at least players reworking their contracts. Along with Nate the next guy is Delmas of Gus that need to take less or be shown the door. I believe he will have a $6 million price tag but they will save $5 million if they cut him. I know he has a cult following for some unknown reason but in all honesty he is out of position more often than not and he doesn't grasp the new NFL and can't resist going for the kill shot instead of playing the ball. Delmas just isn't a $6 million dollar S regardless of how much of a hype man he is pre-game. I also can't see them paying the price to retain Perttigrew or better yet they can't afford what it will cost. Without looking at the roster the next guy that I believe is a FA is Bell and I'm not sure he will be back. Bell was solid this season but is he going to be worth the pay raise he will get compared to what a rookie will be on the books for? I wouldn't mind seeing him back but the Lions need to watch every penny they spend and make sure it is being spent in the right places.


January 1st, 2014, 9:11 am
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Post Re: Nate done as a Lion?
sweetd20 wrote:
I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of overhaul or at least players reworking their contracts. Along with Nate the next guy is Delmas of Gus that need to take less or be shown the door. I believe he will have a $6 million price tag but they will save $5 million if they cut him. I know he has a cult following for some unknown reason but in all honesty he is out of position more often than not and he doesn't grasp the new NFL and can't resist going for the kill shot instead of playing the ball. Delmas just isn't a $6 million dollar S regardless of how much of a hype man he is pre-game. I also can't see them paying the price to retain Perttigrew or better yet they can't afford what it will cost. Without looking at the roster the next guy that I believe is a FA is Bell and I'm not sure he will be back. Bell was solid this season but is he going to be worth the pay raise he will get compared to what a rookie will be on the books for? I wouldn't mind seeing him back but the Lions need to watch every penny they spend and make sure it is being spent in the right places.


I also think Delmas is gone, but more because half of our starters practicing once a week has to end.

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January 1st, 2014, 9:52 am
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Post Re: Nate done as a Lion?
I sure hope they bring back Joique Bell.


January 1st, 2014, 10:38 am
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Post Re: Nate done as a Lion?
I'm almost positive bell is a RFA. That said, they'd be smart to sign him to a 2 yr deal at say 1.5-2M per.

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January 1st, 2014, 11:57 am
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Post Re: Nate done as a Lion?
I wouldnt mind bringing back Nate at the Vet Minimum as the 3rd-4th-5th WR but thats about it.


January 1st, 2014, 2:30 pm
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Post Re: Nate done as a Lion?
Joique Bell is a RFA, and the Lions are expected to place a high tender on him, like second round. It means that they will have to pay him decently this coming season (not sure how much, but likely around $1.5M).

If Nate is willing to take a paycut, the Lions would be FOOLS to not do it and retain him. Everyone complains about our depth at WR, and our lack of locker room leadership. Nate provides both. He may not be an ideal #2 receiver, but he'd be great as quality depth and a slot receiver. It would all depend on just how much Nate is willing to reduce his cap number to. But something around $2M or so would be fine.

I don't know what Louis Delmas is making, but if the Lions can upgrade at the free safety spot they need to make that move and not get emotionally involved with keeping Delmas for his rah-rah attitude. He's not even close to being as effective as he was when he came out of college. His range is very limited, and he can't make up for it. And his tackling still stinks.

The other big question are going to be Shaun Hill and Dom Raiola. Dom had one of this best seasons, but how much longer can he keep that up? There are a number of pretty good centers due to enter the draft, so the Lions need to strongly consider how they will approach that. With Shaun Hill, I believe he's due to become a UFA, and I believe the Lions need to retain him regardless of cost. Stafford stunk up the field in the second half of the season, and the team needs to have a viable backup if he continues his regression next season.

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January 1st, 2014, 6:26 pm
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Post Re: Nate done as a Lion?
m2karateman wrote:
Joique Bell is a RFA, and the Lions are expected to place a high tender on him, like second round. It means that they will have to pay him decently this coming season (not sure how much, but likely around $1.5M).

Agree - he'll be worth $1.5m too. Wouldn't be surprised if he was willing to sign a longer term deal on similar terms, either. Suspect that he'd take a bit less than he might get elsewhere to stay with the Lions given his connections with the team.

m2karateman wrote:
If Nate is willing to take a paycut, the Lions would be FOOLS to not do it and retain him. Everyone complains about our depth at WR, and our lack of locker room leadership. Nate provides both. He may not be an ideal #2 receiver, but he'd be great as quality depth and a slot receiver. It would all depend on just how much Nate is willing to reduce his cap number to. But something around $2M or so would be fine.

Completely agree. Nate will cost $1m or so vs the cap whether he's on the roster or not, so might as well forget about that number. An extra $1m to have decent depth and veteran leadership in what will likely be a young group, is well worth it IMO (especially given it's not much more than vet minimum).

m2karateman wrote:
I don't know what Louis Delmas is making, but if the Lions can upgrade at the free safety spot they need to make that move and not get emotionally involved with keeping Delmas for his rah-rah attitude. He's not even close to being as effective as he was when he came out of college. His range is very limited, and he can't make up for it. And his tackling still stinks.

I still think he's a decent player, but his lack of practice and the low chances of getting another 16 game season out of him mean that if we can find a long term replacement we should absolutely do it IMO.

m2karateman wrote:
The other big question are going to be Shaun Hill and Dom Raiola. Dom had one of this best seasons, but how much longer can he keep that up? There are a number of pretty good centers due to enter the draft, so the Lions need to strongly consider how they will approach that.

Again, I agree - if we can get Dom to sign up for a reasonably priced short term deal that would be great. I think he'd go for it. I suspect he's made enough in his career and would prefer being a one team guy and actually being part of the Lions having a successful season - so I think he eeks out one more year for us at decent cost. If we can pick up his long term replacement in the mid-rounds that would be perfect.

m2karateman wrote:
With Shaun Hill, I believe he's due to become a UFA, and I believe the Lions need to retain him regardless of cost. Stafford stunk up the field in the second half of the season, and the team needs to have a viable backup if he continues his regression next season.

I think any backup QB in Detroit is going to be injury cover only. I can't imagine how badly Stafford would have to play to get benched for performance reasons, given his contract. Ultimately I think Hill's situation depends on Suh - if we get Suh signed to an extension that clears some space next season (Suh is going to cost $20m+, iirc, in 2014 vs the cap) then I suspect we will be able to afford Hill. If we can't, I suspect Hill becomes a luxury we go without and we enter 2014 100% reliant on Stafford staying healthy.


January 2nd, 2014, 5:44 am
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Post Re: Nate done as a Lion?
m2karateman wrote:
Joique Bell is a RFA, and the Lions are expected to place a high tender on him, like second round. It means that they will have to pay him decently this coming season (not sure how much, but likely around $1.5M).

If Nate is willing to take a paycut, the Lions would be FOOLS to not do it and retain him. Everyone complains about our depth at WR, and our lack of locker room leadership. Nate provides both. He may not be an ideal #2 receiver, but he'd be great as quality depth and a slot receiver. It would all depend on just how much Nate is willing to reduce his cap number to. But something around $2M or so would be fine.

I don't know what Louis Delmas is making, but if the Lions can upgrade at the free safety spot they need to make that move and not get emotionally involved with keeping Delmas for his rah-rah attitude. He's not even close to being as effective as he was when he came out of college. His range is very limited, and he can't make up for it. And his tackling still stinks.

The other big question are going to be Shaun Hill and Dom Raiola. Dom had one of this best seasons, but how much longer can he keep that up? There are a number of pretty good centers due to enter the draft, so the Lions need to strongly consider how they will approach that. With Shaun Hill, I believe he's due to become a UFA, and I believe the Lions need to retain him regardless of cost. Stafford stunk up the field in the second half of the season, and the team needs to have a viable backup if he continues his regression next season.


Shaun Hill and Nate Burleson are both Linehan guys. Hill is probably going to be extremely valuable on the market especially with so many teams looking to draft a QB, he s an ideal guy that can be ready with minimal reps yet give a decent enough performance if called upon so that the rest of the roster can still be developed. I dont see the Lions without Linehan and with Stafford healthy 3 seasons in a row giving the backup QB spot as much of a salary allocation. Hill made more sense when Stafford was inexperienced and injured. If you want Stafford to get better it has nothing to do with Hill. You have to hire the right coach and bring in a legitimate receiving TE and a No 2 and No 3 WR. Spending money on Hill reduces the resources available to add to the rest of the team. He s a luxury they can no longer afford. If you dont believe in Stafford the answer isnt an older veteran who has failed in other gigs, they would have to draft a QB like Mettenberger who s value might drop bc of an injury and develop him for 2-3 years for now. Either way, Hill doesnt make sense here anymore.

Burleson set to make $5 million is done. I think the Lions are going to get a coach with a more aggressive downfield passing scheme and Burleson doesnt really fit that anymore. Given his injury history and declining performance he s not worth anything more than the veteran minimum at this point and even that money might be better spent somewhere else.

Raiola had a an outstanding season, the Lions should bring him back. He hasnt had injuries, moves well despite the added weight and as long as he s not commanding the bloated salaries they were once paying him I d be in favor of a 2 year deal.

Bell will be tendered and retained.

Delmas triggerred a high salary that they will have to re work if they want him back. Personally, I think he needs to practice more to really be worth having on the team and if thats not possible he could be a trade or cut candidate. His errors seemed to be mental ones but physically I think he still has the same range.


Last edited by The Legend on January 2nd, 2014, 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.



January 2nd, 2014, 9:37 am
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Post Re: Nate done as a Lion?
Raiola is probably the most important to keep. Sign a 2-year deal, grab a replacement in the draft.

Bell had a great season, and I'd like to see him brought back, but wouldn't be too hard to replace with a late round draft pick or FA.

Burleson would be nice, but he's no longer a real #2. I expect the Lions to burn a high draft pick on a WR or target someone young/better than Nate in FA.

I think Delmas has got to go.


January 2nd, 2014, 9:54 am
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Post Re: Nate done as a Lion?
I'd hate to see Nate go, but he just can not be a #2. I'd say if he can call a taxi and hold on to some balls next year, put him in the slot and cut his pay. But that means you either have to draft a #2 or get one in free agency. I do not trust this organization to draft a #2 WR. And I really don't want them to overpay for a free agent.
I think the Lions can find a slot reciever in free agency for cheap or a reasonable amount, but man, I don't know about their WR evaluations. I don't want to keep Nate, but if he's willing to take a cut like he said he would, then I say put him in the slot and find a real #2 somewhere, somehow.


January 2nd, 2014, 5:17 pm
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Post Re: Nate done as a Lion?
They Lions need to take a #1 Level Receiver to be their #2. IE Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Marquise Lee. The problem they got into was they kept taking Risky players (T Young had Known Attitude Issues, Broyles had known Injury History) and Hoping they work out. When you are trying to build your offense around the passing game, you get 2 top receivers. Marvin harrison + Reggie Wayne, Fitzgerald + Boldin, Marshall + Jeffrey, etc. While we still have Calvin @ Peak/Near peak, now is the time to pair him with another top receiver.


January 2nd, 2014, 5:43 pm
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Post Re: Nate done as a Lion?
I believe the vet min for Nate would be around $1M. If he reduces his contract to that, he'd cost us $3M instead of about $7.5M. That'd be $1M less than we'd save by cutting him but we'd get the added benefit of keeping him around. If we can't work it out cut him and save the $5.5 M.

Cutting Delmas would save us $6M ($6.5M contract, $5.5 base salary, $500,000 signing bonus and $500,000 roster bonus). I doubt he restructures and if we cut him, we'll likely have to look to the draft. Byrd is the big name out there but he's looking for $8M a season. If we can't find a cheaper FA option, we could spend on a corner like Vontae Davis, Verner or Aquib Talib. I think we'd keep Houston this year since it'd cost us almost $2M to cut him, but he could be gone after next season when it'd save us $2M. Hopefully he has a bounce back year but we need 3 solid corners anyway and these guys are young enough. I'd still prefer to draft one in the first or second round.


January 2nd, 2014, 8:24 pm
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Post Re: Nate done as a Lion?
DJ-B wrote:
They Lions need to take a #1 Level Receiver to be their #2. IE Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Marquise Lee. The problem they got into was they kept taking Risky players (T Young had Known Attitude Issues, Broyles had known Injury History) and Hoping they work out. When you are trying to build your offense around the passing game, you get 2 top receivers. Marvin harrison + Reggie Wayne, Fitzgerald + Boldin, Marshall + Jeffrey, etc. While we still have Calvin @ Peak/Near peak, now is the time to pair him with another top receiver.


I didn't like the picks and how they turned out, but let's be fair.

1. Titus Young had issues early in his Boise State days. His last two seasons there he had no off field issues and the coaches proclaimed that his earlier issues were based on immaturity, and that he had grown up. When the Lions drafted him, he seemed like a pretty humble guy during his press conference. If his chemical imbalance or bi-polarity, or whatever the heck is wrong with him never got properly diagnosed, then there was no way for the Lions to know he'd go off the deep end. And whatever medical reports they got on him, we'll never truly know about.

2. Ryan Broyles didn't have an 'injury history' while playing at Oklahoma. He played three complete seasons previous to his getting injured his senior season. Personally, I thought the Lions should have drafted him, but not until around two rounds later, strictly based on the fact that an ACL injury should be given adequate time to heal, and he couldn't work out until well after the draft. Based on his getting one injury in college, the idea that he had an 'injury history' is absurd. And based on that, there was no way of predicting he'd get this injured this often as a pro. It would be like saying the Lions should have known that Mikael LeShoure would get injured as well.

Also, keep in mind that both Boldin and Jeffrey were second round picks, not first rounders. Boldin fell due to his 40 time, and Jeffrey was said to have some attitude issues.

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January 2nd, 2014, 9:45 pm
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