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Tracy Walker landing spots: Potential fits with Lions releasing veteran safety after six seasons in Detroit

The Detroit Lions have decided to move on from safety Tracy Walker Tuesday, as the the six-year NFL veteran announced on Instagram that he’s being released by the franchise that drafted him. The team also announced the move as well. The 29-year-old Walker spent six seasons in Detroit and started 43 out of a possible 79 games, totaling 398 tackles and three interceptions.

Walker recorded 15 tackles for loss in his career, tied for the second-most by a defensive back in franchise history. He set a career-high in total tackles (105) in the 2021 season and joined Bennie Blades as the only Lions defensive backs in franchise history to post multiple seasons of 100-plus tackles. The 2018 third-round pick was one of two players in the NFL to accumulate at least 300 tackles and 15 special teams tackles from 2018 through 2021.

Walker fell down the Lions’ depth chart in 2023 and was a healthy scratch throughout the postseason. He had one year remaining on a three-year, $25 million contract with a cap hit of $12,821,668 for next season. The Lions save $5.5 million in salary cap space with the move. 

Where could Walker end up next? Here are three potential teams who could use the veteran’s services. 

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles badly need help at safety with Kevin Byard likely a cap casualty if he doesn’t agree to a restructure and rookie Sydney Brown likely out for all of next season with a torn ACL. New defensive coordinator Vic Fangio prioritizes the safety position, but is Walker a fit? 

Walker has played under Paul Pasqualoni, Cory Undlin, and Aaron Glenn in his six seasons with the Lions. None have any connections to Fangio, but the Eagles could use a box safety who finds the football. There could be a No. 3 safety role for Walker. 

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers haven’t named a defensive coordinator yet, but they could get younger at safety — especially if they decide to move on from Tashaun Gipson. Walker just turned 29, and the 49ers will have Talanoa Hufanga back, along with Ji’Ayir Brown ready to take over a starting role. 

This would be a good No. 3 safety role for Walker, especially since the 49ers could use a seasoned veteran. Of course, they have to find a defensive coordinator first. 

New York Jets

The Jets will need to find a starting safety if Jordan Whitehead does not return. Chuck Clark is also a free agent, so the Jets may need to revamp the entire position. 

With Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed at cornerback, the safety job in New York is ideal for anyone. The Jets need a box safety and Walker could start again and fill that void. He’d be a more cost efficient option, too. 

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