On a list of “one offseason move” for each NFC team, cutting three notable veterans is the “one” for the Detroit Lions.
The Detroit Lions move toward the week after the Super Bowl with the 11th-most salary cap space in the NFL ($13.915 million, according to Over The Cap). There’s also a pretty clean path for them to add more than $20 million in cap space.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com has a list of one offseason move for each team in the NFC. Some of the items are pretty broad and general. For the Lions it’s fairly specific, and down to the nitty gritty it’s more than “one move.”
"Make tough decisions on high-priced veterans.Michael Brockers, Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Romeo Okwara have all had good moments in Detroit, but weren’t able to play much in 2022. Releasing all three could save up to $30.5 million against the cap with post-June 1 cuts. Okwara and Vaitai could still have good football left and would be candidates to restructure.With D.J. Chark and Jamaal Williams both free agents, the Lions will want to free up money to spend even more on the skill positions."
At least three notable cuts are probably coming for the Detroit Lions
As Rosenthal noted, designating Okwara ($11 million), Brockers ($10 million) and Vaitai ($9.5 million) as post-June 1 cuts would create $30.5 million in cap space for the Lions.
Brockers and Vaitai are pretty easy cuts in a vacuum, especially Brockers. Okwara is a little less clear or obvious, but there’s no denying the cap implications of cutting him (figures courtesy of Over The Cap).
Romeo Okwara, pre-June 1 cut: $7.5 million in cap savings, $7 million dead money
Romeo Okwara, post-June 1 cut: $11 million in cap savings, $3.5 million in dead money
All three as pre-June 1 cuts would make that cap savings number a shade over $24 million, with higher dead money on Okwara and Vaitai.
Adding to the aforementioned $7.5 million pre-June 1 cut number for Okwara, we have, via Over The Cap:
Brockers, pre-June 1 cut: $10 million cap savings
Vaitai, pre-June 1 cut: $6,551,806 in cap savings
Brockers and Okwara are fairly expensive veterans who lack a clear role for the Lions next season. Vaitai is ripe to be replaced at right guard, after missing this entire season. All three are tough offseason decisions to a degree, individually and collectively. But when it comes down to it, it may not be too hard for the Lions to part ways with all three.