By Eric Schmidt

The Detroit Lions are starting to purge their roster as the league prepares to roll into the free agency portion of the year. The Lions could use some help via free agency, but they are currently trying to clear up some salary cap issues. Last week, the team parted ways with veteran defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and they are hoping to enter talks with quarterback Matthew Stafford in order to work out a contract extension.

Vanden Bosch, a team leader and high motor player, only recorded 3.5 sacks in 2012 and was set to count $10.7 million against Detroit’s salary cap this season. With Cliff Avril a free agent and Vanden Bosch’s decreasing production on the field, he was simply not worth that number.

The Lions are now attempting to try to get a new long-term deal done with QB Matthew Stafford. According to the team’s official website, Stafford is set to count $20 million against the team’s cap number next season. Stafford is a solid quarterback. Now that the injury issues are behind him, he’s thrown for over 10,000 yards and 61 touchdowns in the last two seasons.

Detroit has Stafford locked up through the 2015 season with a club option on his final season, but he is set to count $20.82 million against this year’s cap. Since the salary cap is remaining flat this year with little increase, teams like the Lions are going to have to reach out to players in order to restructure contracts in order to create salary cap room.

Quarterbacks are at a premium around the league and the Lions can ill-afford to lose a talent like Stafford, who is just 25. At the same time, Stafford has to realize that it would be in his best interest to get a deal done in order to free up cap space in order to allow the team to add additional talent on both sides of the ball.

Detroit struggled through a very disappointing season after reaching the playoffs in 2011. There are several pieces that need to be added all across the field.

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