After the easy move to cut Michael Brockers, who will be the next cap casualty for the Detroit Lions?
It was inevitable, and on Friday it was official. The Detroit Lions released veteran defensive tackle Michael Brockers, clearing $10 million in cap space and retaining nearly $4 million in dead money in the process.
Cutting Brockers was the most obvious first step to the Lions clearing a significant chunk of cap space heading into free agency. Further cuts, possible restructures and possible contract extensions will clear more spending room, it’s just a matter of how it looks. After Brockers, any further cuts will probably be a little more nuanced for the Lions.
But there is an absolutely pertinent question on the table.
Who will be the next cap casualty for the Lions?
Who will be the next cap casualty for the Detroit Lions?
To be frank, the Lions don’t have many more players who stand out as potential cap casualties. Some of the cuts are a matter of procedure to make a little more sense, with a cut designation before or after June 1. But even with that short list, there are some guys who stand out as too costly to keep based on their prospective role, etc. in 2023.
Let’s list out the next potential cap casualties for the Lions, with pertinent info via Over The Cap, then make a final prediction for who will be next.
RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Pre-June 1: $6.55 million cleared; $5.89 million dead money
Post-June 1: $9.5 million cleared; $2.95 million dead money
DE Romeo Okwara
Pre-June 1: $7.5 million cleared; $7 million dead money
Post-June 1: $11 million cleared, $3.5 million dead money
DE Charles Harris
Pre-June 1: $4.01 million cleared; $3.97 million dead money
Post-June 1: $6 million cleared; $1.98 million dead money
DE Julian Okwara
Pre-June 1: $1.28 million cleared, $286,607 dead money
Post-June 1: Same
WR Quintez Cephus
Pre-June 1: $1.01 million cleared, $76,073 dead money
Post-June 1: Same
Julian Okwara and Cephus are inconsequential, but there’s a very good chance Cephus will be cut. The big fish here are Vaitai, Romeo Okwara and Harris.
The idea Romeo Okwara would be a surprise cut is a reach, but it’s possible he takes a pay cut to stick around.
Vaitai missed the entire 2022 season with a back injury. He is the last vestige of the bad contracts doled out by the previous regime in Detroit, and the Lions should be looking to outright replace him at right guard–as they had to all of this past season.
Harris had a disappointing, injury-hampered, 2022 season. His role for next season is up in their air. At this point he looks like he’ll be an expensive backup edge rusher, and not a particulary good one at that.
My prediction for the next Lions’ cap casualty, even with the order not necessarily important, is…
Halapoulivaati Vaitai. The Lions have a more urgent need to replace him than they do Romeo Okwara or Harris, though the latter two may not be long for the roster either.