Former Lions linebacker Justin Durant has agreed to terms on a two-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys, according to ESPN, but cannot sign the deal until Dallas creates salary cap space.
Durant was respected and appreciated by the coaching staff and management in Detroit, but signing him wasn't possible given the current financial state of the team.
Despite numerous players restructuring their contracts, the Lions have approximately $7-8 million left to spend on players - including all draftees and any other free agents they might pursue between now and the start of the season.
Durant was acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars prior to the 2011 season and was a key contibutor on the Lions defense, finishing second on the team in tackles in 2012. He partnered with DeAndre Levy and Stephen Tulloch to form a respectable linebacking corps, but with money already committed to Levy and Tulloch, Durant was left on the outside looking in.
The Lions will provide Ashlee Palmer and Tahir Whitehead with the most immediate opportunity to seize a starting role and could also address the linebacking corps in next month's draft.
Durant, commenting on his departure from Detroit, tweeted on Tuesday:
"Shout out to Detroit man I wanna thank y'all for the luv and support y'all showed me the past couple years I really appreciate it."
"I thank the organization for allowing me the opportunity to play the last 2 years I am forever grateful."
"It's so haaaarrrrdd, to say goodbyeee, to yesterdaaaaaayy-eeeeeeee."