The Detroit Lions have two high-profile defensive players missing mandatory OTAs while looking for new deals, but how much are they currently making?
As offseason activities take place at Allen Park for the Detroit Lions, a couple of players are organizing their own activities away from the team. High-profile defenders cornerback Darius Slay and defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison appear to be angling for new contracts. But how much money are they set to receive from the team this season?
Without comparing to the rest to the league at their positions, these two are number two and number five on the Lions’ payroll for the 2019 cap. According to Over The Cap, Slay is set to account for $15.9 million. Only quarterback Matthew Stafford has a higher number at $29.5 million. Harrison will account for an even $7 million.
Those numbers include the $250,000 workout bonuses each player might have already forfeited after missing OTAs. But, they are still both top five on the team for cap hits. Offensive tackle Rick Wagner and wide receiver Marvin Jones are third and fourth on the list, respectively.
Now, comparing these guys to the rest of the league, it’s Dave Birkett’s opinion that Slay’s 2016 deal worth $48 million over four years is a steal. Slay’s average yearly salary of $12 million ranks 13th of all cornerbacks in the NFL. The highest is $15.5 million per year.
Harrison, on the other hand, is just outside of the top 20 of interior defensive linemen in average yearly salary, tied with a familiar face to the Lions, Ndamukong Suh, at $9.25 million. The highest in this category is $22.5 million, skewed by Aaron Donald‘s contract which is $5 million more than the next highest figure.
This is a clear case of two highly impactful players at their positions seeing fellow players cashing in. But it’s more. They feel they are as good, if not better, than some of those players. They aren’t just chasing dollar signs. They’re looking to feel valued for what they provide.
It’s true Slay and Harrison are already snacking on the Lions salary cap as top five in 2019 numbers. But they are also integral parts of the team’s defense. Without them in the lineup in 2019, it would be tough sledding for a team chasing their first playoff victory in 27 years.
The Detroit Lions are also sitting on $23.3 million in cap space for the year. If they wanted to sign these two players to new contracts with signing bonuses up front, there’s room to make it happen.
Harrison’s situation seems more palatable as his contract is held over from the New York Giants. He’s proven his worth in Detroit and is looking to be treated as such by the Lions. Slay, however, is in the middle of a contract he signed while playing for this team. If he only had one year left, it would be more of a priority to pay him and lock him in for the long haul. We’ll see if the team feels this way with two years still left on his deal.
Either way, expect the team to do whatever they can to make these two happy. Harrison might have a new contract by the end of the month. Slay’s could come after that. But if these two sit out an extended period of time, you’ll need to adjust your expectations for this season and the future.