Lions release Michael Brockers, clearing $10 million in cap space

Detroit News

With next month’s free-agency period rapidly approaching, the Detroit Lions created a significant chunk of cap space by releasing veteran defensive lineman Michael Brockers. First confirmed by The Detroit News through a source Thursday evening, the move became official Friday afternoon.

“We would like to thank Michael Brockers for his leadership over the last two seasons,” the team wrote in a joint statement attributed to general manager Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell. “As one of our team captains in 2022, Brock’s veteran voice and presence were instrumental in helping guide and develop our young locker room. He is one of the true professionals of our game and we have the highest respect for him as a man. We wish him and his family well on their next chapter.”

The widely anticipated move clears $10 million off Detroit’s books ahead of free agency, giving the team more than $20 million to work with to re-sign or add players to the roster in March.

Brockers came to Detroit via a trade with the Los Angeles Rams shortly after the team hired Holmes to serve as general manager during the 2021 offseason. Coinciding with the move, the team quickly moved to award Brockers a contract extension that both created some immediate cap relief and provided the veteran additional financial stability through guaranteed money.

Brought in to help establish a locker-room culture for Detroit’s new leadership regime, Brockers served as an important mentor to a number of the team’s young defensive linemen, including 2021 draft picks Alim McNeill and Levi Onwuzurike. Ahead of the 2022 season, he was elected a defensive captain for his work in this capacity.

The Lions also had hoped Brockers, a former first-round pick, would port over his on-field success in Los Angeles, particularly as an interior pass rusher. Unfortunately, that never came to fruition.

After seeing a precipitous drop-off in his ability to generate quarterback pressure his first season in Detroit, the team ultimately pulled the plug on his playing time, making him a healthy scratch much of the second half of last season, giving many of his snaps to the younger players he had been mentoring.

To his credit, Brockers didn’t sulk following the demotion, continuing to quietly lead in the background. That included heading up a players-only meeting that several members of the roster pointed to as a key moment in the defense’s turnaround down the stretch.

In two seasons, Brockers appeared in 22 games for the Lions, making 21 starts. He recorded 56 tackles and a sack.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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