How the Detroit Lions can add over $20 million in cap space for 2023

Credit: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Credit: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
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Michael Brockers, Detroit Lions
Credit: Justin Casterline/Getty Images /

1. Cut DT Michael Brockers

This is the easiest move the Lions have this offseason. Brockers played in one game after the Week 6 bye this season. Even that was only 12 snaps in Week 11 against the New York Giants, when the defensive line was injury-thinned and there was a short week ahead before the Thanksgiving game.

To his credit, as if he had much choice if he wanted to stick around and wasn’t going to ask to be released, Brockers embraced a behind the scenes leadership role when he was a weekly healthy scratch. But he has not produced much of anything in two seasons as a Lion, even when he played a lot in 2021, and the marked improvement the run defense showed without him this season (leaving aside Week 16 in Carolina) has to be noted. It was also surely noticed within the building.

Via Over The Cap, here are the cap implications for cutting Brockers.

Pre and post-June 1 cut: Cap Savings- $10 million; Dead money: $3.975 million

Cap Savings Tally: $10 million

2. Cut Charles Harris

After a career-saving first season with the Lions in 2021, when he led the team with 7.5 sacks, 2022 was a disappointing and dismal follow-up for Harris. He was not productive when he did play (one sack and 14 total tackles in six games), and a groin injury limited him to two games after Week 4. He was placed on IR in late-November. While he could have returned in Week 17, he did not play again and there were no indications he was close to being activated.

Harris signed a two-year deal to come back to Detroit last offseason. But it’s safe to say he has been usurped in the edge rusher pecking order, and his role for next season is very much up in the air. His 2023 cap hit, just shy of $8 million, is the 10th-highest on the team right now. That feels a little steep for someone who’s likely to be a backup edge rusher, and possibly not a very productive one.

Via Over The Cap, here the financial implications attached to Harris.

Pre-June 1 cut: Cap Savings: $4,011,666; Dead Money: $3,976,667
Post-June 1 cut: Cap Savings: $6 million, Dead Money: $1,988,333

Cap Savings Tally: $14 million (pre-June 1)