The Detroit Lions released veteran wide receiver Nate Burleson on Thursday, according to reports. Dave Birkett broke the news via Twitter, saying that the team informed Burleson of his release – a move that saves roughly $5.5 million in 2014.
Burleson may have been aging at 33, but he was still fairly effective when healthy. That was another problem, however, as he dealt with injuries the past two seasons and only appeared in 15 of 32 games. Burleson played in just nine games in 2013, catching 39 passes and one touchdown. An already weak Lions receiving corps gets much thinner with the move.
That being said, it was a move that had to be done. Burleson is old, couldn’t separate anymore, and wasn’t worth rostering due to a lack of durability.
With the Lions already pegged as a team in need of wide receiver help, the exit of a solid veteran makes the need even greater. Widely expected to add talent via this year’s draft, the release of Burleson could also force Detroit to spend some money on a wide receiver in free agency.
Burleson reportedly intends to continue his playing career. Receiver-needy teams like the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets could potentially show interest, but it wouldn’t surprise many if this marked the end of Burleson’s NFL career.