Dave Birkett | Detroit Free Press
The Detroit Lions are getting rid of another prominent player on defense.
The Lions plan to release slot cornerback Justin Coleman before the new league begins next week, a person informed of the decision told the Free Press.
Coleman has been the Lions’ primary slot cornerback the past two years, but was due to make $8.95 million this fall.
The Lions, who are tight against next season’s salary cap, will create at least $5 million in cap space by releasing Coleman. If they designate him a June 1 cut, they will free up about $9 million in cap room.
Coleman forced three fumbles in 2019, after the Lions signed him to a four-year, $36 million deal that made him the highest-paid slot cornerback in the NFL. He did not force any turnovers last season, when he missed five games with a hamstring injury.
The Lions previously informed cornerback Desmond Trufant that he will be released at the start of the league year in a move that will free up $6 million in cap space. They also released starting linebacker Christian Jones this week.
Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye are penciled in as starting cornerbacks for 2021, but the Lions will be active adding depth at the position in free agency.
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Troy Hill, Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, and Tennessee Titans cornerback Desmond King are among the top slot cornerbacks due to become unrestricted free agents, and all have ties to the new Lions coaching staff.
Hill and Robey-Coleman played for Lions secondary coach Aubrey Pleasant in L.A., and King spent his first three seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers, where Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn was head coach.