The Detroit Lions have released wide receiver, Keshawn Martin, and tight end Tim Wright. The move comes as a surprise because there have been no corresponding signings announced by the team.
In previous seasons, the cut down to week one’s 53 man roster size was done in two waves. Teams went from 90 to 75 between week three and week four of the preseason. This season the league changed the rule, allowing teams to keep 90 players until after the fourth preseason game.
The move does not save the team significant money, as players make only $1100 per week of the preseason. The likely motivation for making such moves early is to allow players who will not be making the roster or joining the practice squad the opportunity to catch on with another team.
Why Keshawn Martin Is Looking For Work
The release of Keshawn Martin is an interesting one. Martin had the Lions longest returns of the season for both the punt and kickoff return units. As a receiver, however, Keshawn Martin’s performance was unacceptable.
His four receptions for 25 yards gave him the worst yards per reception of any wide receiver or tight end on the Lions roster. Martin’s release means that the return jobs will be going to TJ Jones, Jamal Agnew, or Jace Billingsley. Saturday’s final preseason tilt will be the final opportunity for those players to claim the job.
Why Tim Wright Is Looking For Work
Wright was a long shot to make the Lions roster from the moment he signed with the team. The Lions have rostered far more players at the tight end position than they could reasonably carry through the season.
In the third preseason game, Tim Wright made three receptions for 34 yards. All of those yards came on a single drive, during the third quarter. Wright appeared to be as a possible insurance policy against Eric Ebron missing time. The Lions’ other tight ends, Michael Roberts and Darren Fells excel in a traditional in line role. Wright and Ebron are move tight ends.
The release of Wright likely means that the Lions starting tight end is close to ready for return. The move opens the door for rookie Robert Tonyan to make his mark in the final preseason game. There have been reports that Tonyan has been taking reps with the first team offense. Those reports speak well of Tonyan’s play.
Much has been made of the way the Lions deal with veteran players this offseason. In this case, at least they have done these players a favor. They will have the opportunity for an in game audition with a new team, or at least practice time before a flood of 1056 players suddenly look for work.
NFL teams know where they need help right now, and those looking for a kick returner of a move tight end could do worse than Keshawn MArtin and Tim Wright.