June 22, 2024


Tracy Walker, a safety with the Detroit Lions, lost his position during the 2023 season. He might not make the squad this offseason.

On February 19, Matt Okada of NFL.com listed Walker as a possible contender for an NFC roster cut.

“The Lions are actually in excellent cap shape going into 2024, but Walker might be the place to save some extra money,” Okada wrote. Despite playing in all 17 games the previous season, he only started six of them and gave up a 123.8 passer rating in primary coverage, according to PFF.

Walker would free up $8 million in contract space for a squad that is very close to winning the Super Bowl if he was named a post-June 1 cut.

Walker signed a three-year, $25 million contract before the 2022 campaign, and he is currently in the final season of that deal. In 2024, he will be worth roughly $12.8 million under the limit.

Lions head coach Dan Campbell said the NFL wouldn't let him have a pet lion  on the sideline - Yahoo Sports
Lions head coach Dan Campbell said the NFL wouldn't let him have a pet lion  on the sideline - Yahoo Sports

For a defender who saw just four defensive snaps in total over the final five regular season games, that is undoubtedly a significant figure. Walker did not participate in any of the three Detroit playoff games.

As Okada pointed out, if Walker is a designated post-June 1 cut, the Lions can save $8 million against the cap. If Detroit lets go of Walker before June 1st, it will save $5.5 million.

Tracy for Safety Is Walker a Detroit Lions Cut Candidate?
Not all analysts, including Okada, believe Walker will be released by the Lions during the offseason.

On February 19, Michael Ginnitti of Spotrac named Walker one of the four safeties on his “All-Bubble NFL Team.” Players from all over the league were on the list, according to Ginnitti, who said they might be cut at every position.

Walker was also named by Christian Booher Christian Booher of SI.com’s All Lions on February 14 as a cut possibility for the Lions.

At the end of the previous season, Booher writes, “[Walker] was relegated to a bench and special teams role and later a healthy scratch.” “He started six games this season, but Ifeatu Melifonwu was brought in by the team towards the end, and Melifonwu made a strong argument to start in the secondary next season.”

Walker recorded 34 total tackles and two pass defenses in six starts. Walker had a 62.8 Pro Football Focus player grade the entire season.

Out of 104 safeties that saw at least 20% of their team’s defensive snaps in 2023, the one was ranked 66th.

Ifeatu Melifonwu, Walker’s starting lineup replacement, recorded 26 total tackles in the remaining five regular season games. During those five games, Melifonwu also recorded three tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, three sacks, and two interceptions.

Melifonwu then recorded 16 total tackles, 3 quarterback hits, and 2 sacks during the postseason.

Melifonwu finished the season with an 82.1 player grade at PFF.

Additional Lions Cut Candidates

The Lions are in a strong cap situation, as Okada stated. They have more than $48 million in cap space, according to Spotrac.

However, this offseason, the Lions have needs at guard, cornerback, and edge rusher. They also probably want to give wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and quarterback Jared Goff contract extensions, among others.

Having more room wouldn’t be a bad thing, particularly if that guy isn’t going to be essential to Detroit’s 2024 Super Bowl run.

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