For the first time since 2000, the Detroit Lions will have a starting center who is not named Dominic Raiola. Raiola, who was drafted in the second round in 2001, has been the Lions center throughout the best and the worst times this franchise has seen since Barry Sanders retired. He was informed by the team that he will not be returning to the Detroit Lions in 2015. The writing was on the wall when they drafted Travis Swanson last year, and when Swanson played well in his only start at center, replacing a suspended Raiola, it all but sealed his fate. The only reason the team would have had for keeping the 14 year veteran is his leadership and experience. Considering how poor the offensive line played though, Martin Mayhew needed to make some decisions. With Raiola being a free agent, parting ways with him now allows the team to move on with no financial liability.
The departure of Raiola likely means that Rob Sims will be back next season. The team is not likely to start a rookie left guard and a first time starting center. It would make sense for the team to either allow Sims to return on a 1 year deal while drafting his replacement or to sign a free agent replacement for Sims this offseason.