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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Detroit Lions, Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Cut OG Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Vaitai had a solid season in 2021, and being tabbed as the weak link on one of the best offensive lines is not a huge knock on him really. But he wound up missing this entire season due to a back injury, and while it’s fair to assume he’ll be healthy for next season it’s hardly a lock. Without him, with an injury to eventual replacement Evan Brown mixed in, right guard became a real weakness for the Lions at times this season.

Vaitai was given a big contract by the previous regime in Detroit, and with few other multi-year deals to use for restructures to open up a little cap space his contract has been restructured twice. Those restructures have of course kicked some money into future years in exchange for some current cap relief, changing the financial implications attached to moving on from him down the road ever so slightly. But it’s been enough to end up noticeable from where those numbers started.

The Lions should be looking somewhere in free agency and/or the draft for a right guard, if not to replace Vaitai next season than to do so pretty soon. He has two years left on his contract, and he will not be extended.

But that future minus “Big V” could very well be now. In some respect, it should be now–or should I say this offseason.

Via Over The Cap once again, here’s what it’d look like for the Lions to cut Vaitai.

Pre-June 1 cut: Cap Savings: $6,551,805; Dead money: $5,896,338
Post-June 1 cut: Cap Savings: $9.5 million; Dead money: $2,948,194

Cap Savings Tally: $20.5 million (pre-June 1)

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