Now, two of those players are gone.
The Lions intend to release James before the start of the new year in the league next week, a person familiar with the move told The Free Press. ESPN first published the news late Thursday night.
The Lions previously informed Coleman of his releaseA second source said.
Neither James nor Coleman was committed to the deals they signed that made them among the highest-paid players in their positions two years ago.
James had 30 assists in 32 matches with Lions and played mainly as a tight end of Series Two after Lions spent Choice # 8 in the 2019 Draft on TJ Hockenson.
Hawkinson made the Pro Bowl After getting 67 assists over 723 yards last season. James primarily played in the blocking role.
James was set to earn a base salary of $ 4.95 million in 2021. His release would save him $ 2 million or $ 5 million in cover room, depending on whether Lyons hired him on June 1.
By cutting Coleman, who was briefly the highest nickel earning in the NFL, black would create either $ 5 million or $ 9 million in the cover room.
The Lions could use a free agency next week to find a replacement for James. In addition to Hockenson, Hunter Bryant, Hunter Thedford and Alize Mack are the only other parties limited under a contract for 2021.
Last week, the Lions did a great job of shrinking the high priced players and reworking others’ contracts.
They planned with Coleman and James To cut or trade Cornback Desmond Trofant Before the free agency opens next Wednesday and I have already released full-back Christian Jones.
Black too Restructured full-back Jimmy Collins To free up cover space.