Detroit Lions Make Shocking Release Of Projected Starter

Detroit Lions
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions have been working through a potential change at kicker this offseason.

After failing to reach the Super Bowl, Dan Campbell’s club believed special teams were an area needing improvement. To potentially fix the situation, the team added UFL kicker Jake Bates, per Adam Schefter. The deal was worth just under $2 million.

It was hardly starter money, but it was enough to entice Bates to switch leagues. The Lions then released rookie kicker James Turner, per the Detroit Lions on Twitter/X. The decision comes as quite a surprise, as Turner was expected to be Detroit’s start in 2024.

The moves leave Bates to contend with veteran kicker Michael Badgley, who has been around since 2018. In that short time, Badgley has played for five teams. The incumbent kicker went four-for-four on field goal attempts in 2023 and 20 for 24 in 2022 with the Lions, per Pro Football Reference.

According to FOX, Bates scored 51 points for the Michigan Panthers this season, which ranked second in the league. He proved he could hang with the best kickers in the NFL, but can he do so with the incumbent kicker with the Lions? Failing that, can he hang with any of the top 32 kickers in the NFL?

Detroit Lions take big swings with massive extensions handed to Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown

The Lions posted one of their most memorable seasons of the last 30 years in 2023. As such, they handed two of the stars from that team deals to match.

Amon-Ra St. Brown now has one of the most lucrative contracts for a wide receiver in the NFL, per Spotrac. Only Justin Jefferson and AJ Brown make more cash AAV.

Meanwhile, Jared Goff became the second-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL this offseason. Per Spotrac, he now earns $53 million per season, falling short of just Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence, who are both making $55 million a year.

With two of the biggest salaries in the NFL both sitting on the same roster, the team is also looking to open the door for an even more expensive kicker.

Badgley’s contract is valued at roughly $1 million. The Lions appear especially displeased with Badgley as his salary took a hit from 2023 to 2024. Last year, he earned $1.2 million.

Put simply, the Lions have not been afraid to spend this offseason. At some point, however, the salary cap has to have a say.

Will the Lions manage to win the Super Bowl before the expenses catch up to them?

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