There are two key players not currently under contract with the Detroit Lions in 2021. This is what it might cost to keep them.
Last week I wrote about how the 2020 NFL Draft would affect the players on the Detroit Lions roster. This week, we’ll look at what could happen as far as contract extensions go for a couple of key Lions’ players.
According to Walter Football, the Lions has 12 players that could be free agents in 2021. Two of the key players that could or should have fairly big contract extensions include wide receiver Kenny Golladay and left tackle Taylor Decker. They may wait until 2021 is over before working out an extension but it might be prudent to do it this year to get them locked up for a few more years.
Golladay is 27-years old and is on the final year of his rookie contract which will pay him a salary of $2.1 million. Pro Bowl wideout Amari Cooper, age 26, recently signed contract with the Dallas Cowboys. So I used those numbers to estimate what a contract extension for Golladay might look like.
We’ll start with a four-year extension added to this year for a five-year contract total. Cooper got $100 million for five years. And Golladay’s agent won’t likely settle for a lesser number so I’ll use that.
A portion of this new deal will be workout bonuses that will only be paid if Golladay works out with the team. And another portion of it will be a “games played” bonus so if he’s a healthy player he’ll earn that but only then. The signing bonus might end up being $12.488 million in this scenario with 2020, 2021, and 2022 salaries being guaranteed.
Golladay’s salary for 2020 would be reduced to $1 million. Each of the five years would include a $100,000 workout bonus and an $18,000 per game active roster bonus (16 games in 2020 and 17 games per season starting 2021).
IN this projection, Golladay’s 2021 through 2024 salaries would be $21,125,000 per year. If he hits all his bonuses and plays out his contract it would add up to the $100 million.
In the year 2020, Golladay would receive $12.488 million as a signing bonus, $1 million salary, $100,000 workout bonus, and if active all 16 games a $288,000 roster bonus ($18,000 x 16 games).
The pro-rated signing bonus of his rookie contract would have to be added in this figure for just 2020 ($179,706). The salary cap hit for 2020 would be $4,065,306 (1/5 of the signing bonus or $2,497,600 plus the other amounts for 2020 above) or $1,752,600 more then it currently is set to be for 2020.
For each of the next four years, his salary cap hit would be $24,028,600. I’m not saying this is exactly what the Lions will do, but it’s possible based on all the information I have.
Now Decker is in a slightly different situation. He has a fifth-year option he is playing under totaling $10,966,978 for 2020. It is possible the Lions won’t attempt to extend him yet as they could feasibly franchise tag him in 2021. But if not, their offer to extend might be similar to Golladay’s but with a bigger signing bonus, something like $20 million.
I base these numbers on the contract extension recently signed by Laremy Tunsil of the Houston Texans (both are 26 years of age). In this scenario, unlike what Tunsil did, Decker would have his 2020 base salary reduced like Golladay’s example above. All bonuses would be the same as well.
The salary cap hit for Decker would then be $5,388,000 in 2020 and $25,531,000 for 2021 through 2024. This would actually be a salary cap increase for 2020 as he is set to cost the cap $10,966,978 as things stand today. The additional cap space would add up to $5,578,978.
So now that I have you totally lost, let me summarize it this way. The Lions currently have about $29.44 million in salary-cap space. If they were to get both Golladay and Decker an extension as outlined above, they would increase their salary cap available figure to just under $33.3 million. Spending that salary cap space though is not encouraged in this scenario, for they will want to have it to roll over into 2021 in order to accommodate these and the other contracts the Lions have.
It would lock up both players for four more years after this year for nearly the same $20 to $22 million a year average as Cooper and Tunsil. The Detroit Lions would, of course, go for smaller numbers and the agents would go for larger, but something similar to this could occur and not cripple the salary cap of the team.