The Lions have quite a bit they’d like to do but not a lot of money at their disposal to get it done. That’s not an uncommon reality in the salary cap era of the NFL. The team has made it clear they would like to retain Cliff Avril, Stephen Tulloch and Jeff Backus, maybe even Eric Wright, but with salary cap projections suggesting the Lions have about $12 million to spend, they’ll have to get creative.
That kind of built in constraint serves as a kind of “no-fault insurance policy”. Having only so much money to spend in a variety of areas, the Lions can’t be faulted if they can’t come to an agreement that works financially for both the player and team. Likewise, the player can’t be faulted for taking a more lucrative opportunity elsewhere. Those are wise business decisions on both sides of the table.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears have plenty of money to spend with Matt Forte in need of a new contract. The team is reportedly confident a long-term deal will be reached, which is good news for the organization as it pertains to its perception among their fans. With a boatload of money to spend how can the team possibly defend letting their most important free agent walk? Even if the player’s demands exceed what the team thinks he’s worth, they’ll be labeled cheap. The Bears have very little choice but to re-sign Forte or suffer backlash from their fans.
No NFL organization should feel forced by their fanbase to make any move, especially one that the front office doesn’t feel is in their best interest. But that doesn’t mean that fanbases have blind faith in regards to these matters. In the Lions’ case, they have a well-known constraint to work around and that should shield them from agreeing to a contract they might soon regret.