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Thread: Detroit Lions 2017 Salary Cap Update As Free Agency Wanes

  1. #1

    Default Detroit Lions 2017 Salary Cap Update As Free Agency Wanes

    Detroit Lions 2017 Salary Cap Update As Free Agency Wanes

    by Zac Snyder11 hours agoFollow @ZacSnyder

    The Detroit Lions have gotten a lot done in free agency, but that may be coming to an end as their remaining cap space starts to dwindle.

    As the dust starts to settle on the heavy action in NFL free agency, it’s worth taking a look at where the Detroit Lions stand with their salary cap. With most of the high profile free agents off the board, and the few remaining not linked to the Lions, it appears the Lions are done with their major spending.
    Today’s public salary cap report put out daily by the NFLPA lists the Lions with just over $8.5 million in current cap space. The full breakdown of the structure of the T.J. Lang deal has not been reported publicly as of yet, but the NFLPA number seems to include it already.

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    If we take that as the up to date number, it leaves the Lions with ability to monitor the free agent market for values, but not much else. Aside from perhaps a few more small signings, here are some salary cap-related topics to consider as the offseason progresses.
    What about signing the draft class?

    Over the Cap has the Lions rookie pool for their 2017 draft class at just over $6.1 million but it doesn’t take that full amount to sign the class. During the offseason, the team’s total cap number is computed based on the top 51 contracts on the roster. When a deal is signed above the top 51 cutoff, a deal falls below it. That means the net effect on the team’s cap is the difference between the contract added to the top 51 and the contract that fell below the top 51.
    Based on the Over the Cap numbers for rookie contracts, the Lions’ first four picks would take the place of four contracts currently counting toward the top 51 while their last four picks come in below the current top 51 line.
    In other words, the Lions’ last four draft picks have no impact on the team’s salary cap situation. The Lions’ top 51 line is currently at $540,000, so $2.16 million of the draft class pool is already accounted for by contracts counting toward the salary cap that will fall below the top 51 line when the rookie class signs.
    With the lat four picks not having an impact on the current cap situation, and the top four picks offset by $540,000 contracts currently in the top 51 that will fall out of the top 51, the Lions only need about an additional $2 million in cap space for their 2017 draft class.
    To summarize in table form:
    Pick 2017 Cap Top 51 Cap Need
    1 $1,984,942 $540,000 $1,444,942
    2 $874,301 $540,000 $334,301
    3 $660,264 $540,000 $120,264
    4 $613,827 $540,000 $73,827
    5 $529,135
    6 $500,760
    7 $495,588
    8 $480,911
    T $6,139,728 $1,973,334
    More Cap Space is Coming

    Designating DeAndre Levy as a post-June 1 release means the Lions will see the dead money on Levy’s deal spread over the 2017 and 2018 salary cap. That results in additional 2017 salary cap savings, but the Lions don’t get the benefit of it until after June 1. That means their salary cap accounting is currently carrying dead money from Levy’s deal that will later be shifted to 2018.


    Greg Nielsen @theNetRat

    Levy Cap:
    $2.4mill sign bonus alloc still hits '17
    $240,000 roster bonuses gone
    $5.75mill '17 salary gone June 1st
    Cap Savings '17 $5.99mill
    5:27 PM - 9 Mar 2017


    Greg Nielsen @theNetRat

    part 2; Levy Cap 2018
    2018 Dead space=$4.8mill
    2018 Salary saved=$6.25mill
    2019 no dead space, no cap hit
    2019 Salary saved=$6.75mill
    5:30 PM - 9 Mar 2017

    While the Lions will get some salary cap benefit, it doesn’t do them any good now. However, that’s OK because…
    Some Cap Space Needs to be Saved for the Season

    Every team will face injuries and attrition during the season and it takes some salary cap space to deal with it. When a player goes on injured reserve, they come off the active roster but that doesn’t bring cap relief.
    It takes cap space to sign new players, either off the street or from the practice squad, to replace an injured player.
    With $4.8 million in Levy dead money shifting from the 2017 cap to the 2018 cap after June 1, the Lions may be able to ear-mark that money as their in-season slush fund, essentially offsetting the gain with what they will want to hold in reserve. Having some extra into the summer also positions the Lions to add veteran players who come available during training camp.
    Under the current collective bargaining agreement, unused cap space can be carried over from year to year. Without a “use it or lose it” situation, the Lions can keep a cushion and roll any unused cap space over to next year.
    Cap Situation Shouldn’t Have Impact on Getting a Stafford Extension

    With the expectation that the Lions will work out a monster contract extension with Matthew Stafford this summer, some fans might wonder how the salary cap situation would impact those negotiations. In short, I don’t think it will.
    It may, however, impact how the Lions decide to structure the deal. Between salary, signing bonus, roster bonus, etc. there are a number of ways to structure a contract and they all have their own impact on the salary cap. Depending on how the Lions structure the deal, Stafford’s cap hit could go up or down from the $22 million cap number he currently has.
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    The expected mega contract that Stafford figures to get will may be a bigger challenge in terms of cash flow than cap accounting. Big money deals means writing big checks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Detroit Lions 2017 Salary Cap Update As Free Agency Wanes

    Here's where Bob Quinn and the Detroit Lions stand in cap space

    Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn has spent up on his offensive line this free-agency season. (AP Photo)

    By Nate Atkins |
    Email the author | Follow on Twitter
    on March 16, 2017 at 5:00 AM, updated March 16, 2017 at 5:02 AM

    DETROIT -- Now that new right guard T.J. Lang's contract specifics have become available, it's easier to pull the Detroit Lions into the clear when it comes to available cap space.
    As of Wednesday afternoon, the Lions have $8.8 million to work with for this season, according to That's the number after Lang's $5.9 million cap hit was added to the 2017 chart.
    The available cash does not include the $5.825 million Detroit will gain back June 1, when it waives linebacker DeAndre Levy. That's close to the amount the Lions will need to sign the rookies they draft with their eight selections next month.

    Detroit began free agency middle of the pack in cap space before it made Rick Wagner the highest-paid right tackle in league history and outbid two playoff teams for the services of Lang. The Lions have also paid starter money to cornerback D.J. Hayden and linebacker Paul Worrilow and completed lower-level signings in defensive tackles Cornelius Washington and Akeem Spence, tight end Darren Fells and wide receiver Keshawn Martin.
    Those additions have taken a hit on the remaining cash, sending Detroit to the lower tier of available cash as of Wednesday afternoon.
    The Lions have also made some attempts to lower the burden for next season, though. Although they've pledged average annual salaries of $9.5 million each to Wagner and Lang, each will boast a 2017 cap hit of just $5.9 million, which rank them eighth and ninth on the Lions for next season.
    Plus, the designated Levy cut helps create a secure amount to spend on the draft class.
    Bob Quinn will test whether Rick Wagner's record deal can also be a steal
    This was the Lions spotting an oncoming trend and being unafraid to start it. In many ways, this was also a shrewd analysis of the market and the league, of themselves and where they're trying to go.
    The cap number will continue to change, and not just as the Lions add other signings. Just as they designated Levy as a cut one day after agreeing to sign Worrilow to starter money, the Lions will continue to evaluate their roster against potential alternatives. That could involve cuts or a compromise in terms of a contract restructuring.
    One potential restructuring that would have a large effect on cap space for years to come is quarterback Matthew Stafford. He's in the final offseason of his deal, the time frame when franchise signal-callers usually work out their extensions. It's a conversation general manager Bob Quinn expects to have after the draft, but the current quarterback market indicates Stafford's next deal could total more than $100 million in career earnings.
    Another could be defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, who holds the team's second-highest cap hit behind Stafford at $12.7 million, thanks to the fifth-year option he'll play under this season. After Ansah racked up 14.5 sacks in a Pro Bowl campaign in 2015 but dropped to just two in an injury-riddled season last year, Detroit might need the fifth year to evaluate his market value. So might the rest of the league.


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