Lions cut linebacker Christian Jones; re-sign cornerback Mike Ford

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

The Detroit Lions continued to clear cap space ahead of the start of the new league year next Wednesday, releasing veteran linebacker Christian Jones and offensive lineman Russell Bodine. 

Jones had been a reliable fixture on Detroit’s defense the past three seasons, appearing in 45 games and playing more than 1,700 snaps. During that stretch, he racked up 177 tackles but only had a handful of big plays.

Christian Jones

Of his 177 stops, only seven came behind the line of scrimmage. And despite seeing plenty of work as an edge rusher, he tallied just three sacks, with zero in 2020. Jones has also offered very little in the turnover department, failing to record an interception, to go with a single forced fumble and fumble recovery.

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With Jarrad Davis, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Reggie Ragland all scheduled to be free agents, the Lions are going to do some serious work to their linebacking corps this offseason. Some analysts believe the team could target one of the top two in the upcoming draft class, Penn State’s Micah Parsons or Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, but only if the Lions are able to trade down out of the No. 7 spot where they’re currently slated to select.

Jones had $2.2 million in dead money remaining on his deal, but his release would free up $2.6 million in space in 2021.

As for Bodine, he signed with the Lions ahead of last season before opting out of the campaign. With no guarantees attached to his deal, the move has minimal ramifications toward the 2021 cap. 

With Mike Ford, general manager Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell both noted the the need for cornerback depth heading into free agency. An undrafted free agent out of Southeast Missouri State in 2018, Ford has spent his entire career with the Lions, appearing in 31 games over the past three seasons, including seven starts.

In addition to providing depth in the secondary, Ford has been a key contributor on special teams the past two seasons, working 410 snaps with those units.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers