Lions release Nate Burleson, save $5.5M in cap room

With the NFL's free-agency period period set to begin in less than a month (March 11th), we will soon hear of many players under contract that will get to test out free agency earlier than that.

One of them is Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson, who was released by the Lions today, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

Per Birkett, the move will save the Lions roughly $5.5 million in cap space.

In his four seasons with the Lions, Burleson had 194 receptions for 2,083 yards and 12 touchdowns. In the past two seasons, however, Burleson played in a total of only 15 games.

Even though Burleson played in only nine games last year, he still finished second behind Calvin Johnson in receptions among the team's receivers with 39. Running backs Reggie Bush (54) and Joique Bell (53) and tight end Brandon Pettigrew (41) all had more receptions than Burleson (39), but finding an upgrade opposite Megatron will likely be a priority this offseason.

Although the Lions have used second-round picks on receivers in two of the past three drafts, Ryan Broyles (2012) has had devastating injury year after year and Titus Young (2011) is no longer in the NFL. Perhaps unlikely that Clemson's Sammy Watkins falls to them at No. 10, the good news is wide receiver is deep in this year's draft class.

Meanwhile, Burleson plans to continue his playing career. Although many will link Burleson to the Cowboys and new coach Scott Linehan, Birkett tweets that "another landing spot that might make sense is Tampa Bay."

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