Detroit Lions release linebacker Christian Jones, re-sign cornerback Mike Ford

ALLEN PARK — The Detroit Lions are continuing their work finding salary cap relief through the linebacker room, releasing Christian Jones with one season left on his contract. The move will clear about $2.6 million in cap space.

Jones started 42 games over the previous three seasons but still didn’t contribute much on some dreadful defenses. He registered only three sacks, one forced fumble and intercepted no passes in those three seasons. His release comes days after it was reported that the team would move on from cornerback Desmond Trufant at the start of the league’s new year. Trufant’s release will create nearly $6.2 million in space.

The Lions also announced it had released veteran offensive lineman Russell Bodine while coming to terms on a new deal with cornerback and special teams contributor Mike Ford. Bodine hasn’t appeared in a game since with the Bills in 2018. Ford has seen sporadic work on defense while carving out a role on special teams over the last three seasons in Detroit.

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Detroit is expected to see major changes in its linebacker room, with Jarrad Davis and Reggie Ragland also about to hit the open market. Jamie Collins reportedly had his contract restructured one year after signing a three-year, $30 million deal.

These moves come as uncertainty surrounds the official salary cap for next season. The floor has been set at $180 million, but the final number hasn’t been finalized. If that number isn’t official by the end of the day on Monday, then the league is expected to delay the franchise tag window per the NFL Network.

All of this comes after the league saw the cap grow by at least $10 million for seven consecutive years. If the cap drops, as widely expected due to the pandemic-altered season, it will represent just the second time that has happened in league history.

“Obviously there’s some uncertainty in terms of what that will be,” first-year Lions general manager Brad Holmes said last week. “From our planning standpoint, we’ve actually been weighing every single scenario from the most optimistic scenario, what it would be, to the worst-case scenario. So, it goes back to the process and the planning stages in terms of how it works. I will say that (vice president of football administration) Mike Disner has been excellent in terms of his expertise in the salary cap and working with Dan (Campbell) and myself and working through those areas. He’s made the process probably as seamless as it could have been in terms of his utilization and how he sees it and it fitting to how we are planning on building the team. A lot of credit goes to Mike Disner with the cap situation.”

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