The Lions have begun a much-needed makeover at linebacker.
The club announced Monday that it has released three-year starter Christian Jones, who had one year remaining on his contract.
The move will save the Lions about $2.5 million in cap space in 2021. Jones, who finished sixth on the team in tackles last season, was set to have a cap hit of $4.7 million.
Signed by former GM Bob Quinn in 2018, Jones started 42 games for Detroit over three seasons and got a two-year extension in 2019. But his lack of speed and big plays typified an overmatched linebackers corps under Matt Patricia.
The position is a clear need for the new regime of Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell entering free agency and the draft. Along with Jones' departure, Jarrad Davis, Reggie Ragland and Jalen Reeves-Maybin are set to be free agents.
Jones is the second defensive starter from last year's team to be released this offseason, joining CB Desmond Trufant.