With the 2014 NFL Combine over and done with, the Detroit Lions front office is likely to turn their eye back toward free agency. The unrestricted free agency period doesn’t open until March 11 but there is plenty of business they can take care of before then, such as reaching agreement with their own free agents and extending contracts.
The strategy with which they go about their business is largely going to be determined by the salary cap. The final number hasn’t been set but the projection seems to keep on rising with a report today saying the cap could be set at about $133 million:
The league and the players’ union are working to set the final salary cap figure and the person familiar with the deliberations said it is “looking in [the] range of $133 [million].” According to that person, the final cap figure should be determined in a “matter of days.”
The bigger the number the less maneuvering the Lions will have to do and while extending Ndamukong Suh is a priority, it isn’t as much of a necessity as it once looked like it would be.
ESPN released an updated list of projected cap room and has the Lions at just over $10 million under the cap – and that was with the cap set at $132 million. That pretty much agrees with the numbers on the Detroit Free Press salary cap tracker.
Ndamukong Suh still holds the vast majority of power in contract negotiations but with the sense of desperation removed – at least as the salary cap numbers are concered – the Lions gain back a little bit of control. Even if an extension is reached, the Lions are better equipped to keep Suh’s cap number high in 2014 to break the habit of “kicking the can down the road” as a salary cap management technique.