The 32-year-old Burleson was scheduled to make $7,531,645 against the team's salary cap in 2014 but was willing to restructure his deal to take less money to stay with the franchise.
The Lions apparently did not have interest in that.
"I'm in a pretty good position because I've been in it long enough that I'm not surprised by what happens in the NFL, so this situation isn't foreign to me," Burleson told ESPN.com earlier this week. "Which means there's a certain comfort in knowing whatever happens is the best situation for both parties."
Burleson had 39 receptions for 461 yards and one touchdown in nine games in 2013. He missed seven games in the middle of the season with a broken forearm; he was injured trying to save a sliding pizza box while driving.
Feeling he showed he could still play when healthy, Burleson plans on playing in 2014. He has played in 135 games since being selected by Minnesota in the third round of the 2003 draft. He has 457 catches for 5,630 yards and 43 touchdowns.
"I think I voiced my opinion enough that everyone knows I want to stay in Detroit and finish up my career there," he said. "But there's just no promises in the NFL, so you've got to hope for the best and be prepared for the worst."