ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions cut veteran defensive lineman Cornelius Washington on Monday, a somewhat surprising move considering Washington's role on the team last year and the team's lack of defensive line depth.
Washington played in 15 games for Detroit last season, starting two with 24 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He had been taking reps with the first and second teams during the spring and in rotations in training camp earlier in August.
Firing the 28-year-old was one of a flurry of moves the Lions made Monday, including signing cornerbacks Sterling Moore and Dexter McDougle along with offensive lineman Beau Nunn. Besides Washington, the Lions also cut cornerback Antwuan Davis and officially moved linebacker Steve Longa to injured reserve with a torn right ACL he suffered Friday against the New York Giants.
Cutting Washington saved the Lions $2,721,875 against the cap for this season, and the franchise already had at least $9.5 million in cap room before the move. Davis had signed with the Lions as an undrafted free agent this year.
Washington had seemed like he would make the roster this season, but was more toward the fringes of it. The emergence of Ricky Jean Francois throughout training camp along with the drafting of Da'Shawn Hand in the fourth round helped make Washington expendable.
In McDougle and Moore, the Lions get two cornerbacks with experience joining a deep position group including Darius Slay, Nevin Lawson, DeShawn Shead, Teez Tabor, Quandre Diggs and Jamal Agnew. This will be McDougle's fourth team in four seasons (Jets, Eagles, Saints) and he has five career tackles in 29 games. Moore has 185 tackles, six interceptions and six forced fumbles in his career with Oakland, New England, Dallas, Tampa Bay and New Orleans.
Both McDougle and Moore were with the Saints last year.