Why the Detroit Lions Should Not Cut Ties with Titus Young

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Why the Detroit Lions Should Not Cut Ties with Titus Young
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Titus Young, the Detroit Lions' talented but troubled wide receiver, has finally gone too far in the minds of many. His Twitter rant last week was a blatant example of insubordination, and no one would begrudge the team if they decided to cut ties with him—but they shouldn't.

Although after tweets like this one, it's easy to see why fans are clamoring for the young man to be cut or traded.

He followed that up with this bit of self-promotion. 

If there is one thing Young has an abundance of, it's confidence in his abilities. Unfortunately, that confidence is equaled only by his level of immaturity.

As the Lions have discovered, that's a bad combination. Unfortunately, they have no one to blame but themselves.

There were red flags when they drafted him out of Boise State in 2011, but the Lions decided to roll the dice and gamble on his talent. They needed a speedy receiver that could stretch the field and be a secondary scoring option to Calvin Johnson.

Young fit the bill, but things started to fall apart last summer when he was involved in a weight room altercation with teammate Louis Delmas. Then in November, against Green Bay, he allegedly lined up in the wrong position on purpose. 

In total, Young has been banished from all Lions' football activities three times.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Even in a world of diva receivers, his actions stand out. So much so that he's now getting advice from the king of diva receivers—Terrell Owens.

According to detroitnews.com, Owens said Young needs to "know his role."

He went on to say:

He has to understand that Calvin (Johnson is) the No. 1 receiver, and being the No. 2 receiver, you have to go with the flow of the offense and when your time comes, make the plays.

If Young doesn't consider getting career advice from Owens a low point, he might just be unreachable.

With that said, Owens is spot-on with his analysis of the situation. Young is being selfish, and his failure to comprehend his place in the pecking order is truly puzzling.

Johnson has earned the title of "best receiver in football." Young has accomplished absolutely nothing.

To make matters worse, he's repeatedly failed to show any kind of accountability. As frustrating as that is for the Lions and their fanbase, now is not the time to give up on him.

It's not in their best interest to do so.

He was a second-round pick, 44th overall, and so far he hasn't provided much return on their investment. Clearly the negative outweighs the positive, but he's only 23 years old.

The Lions can't afford to waste such a high pick when his best years of football are still ahead of him. Particularly when his ceiling is so high.

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The last thing they need is to see him reach his potential with another team or worse yet, exchange him for a low-round pick—which is all they could get for him at this point.

If they can't get value, why cut him loose?

The ideal situation is for the Lions to simply do nothing. Keep him at home or keep him on the bench—but keep him—until he decides to adopt the right attitude or his value improves. Whichever comes first.

Immature or not, Young must be smart enough to realize that it benefits him in the long run to work things out with the Lions.

They aren't the only ones who suffer from his antics. He's hurting himself too.

He won't find many teams interested in 2015—when his current deal expires—if his behavioral issues prevent him from playing consistently. 

You gotta play to get paid.

That is the approach the Lions need to maintain with him. He doesn't play if he doesn't change his ways. Until he does, he should be the forgotten man. No one from the Lions' organization talks to him.

Not even you, Nate Burleson. 

With a cap hit of just over $1 million, Detroit can afford such heavy-handed tactics. It's not ideal, but it's not like they have Ndamukong Suh and his $11 million (2013 salary) sitting at home.

Young will eventually come back, and when he does, the Lions will need to make expectations clear going forward. That will be the job of Jim Schwartz and the rest of the coaching staff. 

USA TODAY Sports
Young and Schwartz in happier times.

Keep in mind that he is never going to be the perfect teammate. For Detroit it will be all about getting the most out of him on the field and minimizing his impact in the locker room.

If they accept what he is—a diva—then they'll be in a better position to do that.

Ultimately he can make all the defiant comments he wants on Twitter. He's only digging himself a deeper hole with the Lions and every other NFL team. Detroit can't react out of frustration, though. He's under contract for two more years, and they can do whatever they want with him. 

Keep him at home. Young will find out how quickly the NFL forgets about about you when you don't play on Sundays. Just ask Alex Smith.

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