Allen Park – The Detroit Lions have parted ways with Michael Burton, waiving the fullback to clear room for the signing of running back Matt Asiata. The team also added guard Connor Bozick and waived-injured linebacker Brandon Chubb.
The writing had been on the wall for Burton, a fifth-round pick out of Rutgers in 2015. It wasn’t his performance as much as the team’s decreased usage of a fullback in the offensive scheme.
After averaging 15 snaps as a rookie, his playing time dipped nearly 60 percent in 2016. Burton didn’t see the field for more than two offensive plays his last five games and was inactive the final two weeks, including the playoff loss to Seattle.
Burton had been graded well by analytics website Pro Football Focus and was also a key special teams contributor for the Lions.
Asiata, 29, brings a versatile, veteran presence to Detroit’s running back room. Backing up Adrian Peterson in Minnesota the past five seasons, Asiata averaged 3.5 yards per carry, caught 101 passes for 722 yards and is considered above-average in pass protection and on special teams.
Asiata can serve as a lead blocker, but he’s listed 26 pounds lighter than Burton.
Bozick, a three-year starter at Delaware, went undrafted this year. The 6-foot-5, 295-pounder has experience playing right tackle and guard.