Heading full blast toward the start of free agency in a couple weeks, here are the top-10 current salary cap hits for the Detroit Lions.
The Detroit Lions have sat in pretty good salary cap position, and late last week they cleared $10 million more by parting ways with defensive tackle Michael Brockers.
There is a path for the Lions to clear more big chunks, but as of Monday (Feb. 27) they are now top-10 in the league in cap space according to Over The Cap ($22.150 million). With the draft capital they have, it could be a transformative offseason in Detroit as they look to build on last season’s 9-8 record.
The Lions balance sheet is pretty free of bad or bloated contracts, and as such there aren’t a lot of prohibitive cap numbers on strictly a dollar-for-dollar basis. Whether that player’s role backs up carrying that cap hit is a seperate conversation.
With all of that, again as of Monday, Feb. 27, here are the top-10 2023 salary cap hits for the Lions.
Numbers via Over The Cap.
Top salary cap hits for the Detroit Lions in 2023
1. QB Jared Goff: $30.975 million
Goff is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, and it’s worth wondering if the Lions would extend him with two years left on his deal in order to reduce this year’s cap hit.
2. LT Taylor Decker: $19.35 million
One of the most underrated left tackles in the NFL, and now the oldest player on the Lions’ roster with Brockers gone, Decker is well worth his cost.
3. C Frank Ragnow: $16.45 million
Based on average per year, Ragnow is the highest-paid center in the league right now. He is tough, technically fantastic and the literal centepiece of the best unit on the team.
4. DE Romeo Okwara: $14.5 million
Coming off a torn Achilles that has cost him 25 games over the last two seasons, Okwara is ripe to be one of the next Lions’ cap casualties. The designation will make a bit of a difference, with $7.5 million in cleared cap space before June 1 and $11 million post-June 1. A contract restructure, or a simple pay cut, is possible here.
5. RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai: $12.448 million
“Big V” missed the entire 2022 season due to a back injury, which only further bolsters the idea he’ll be cut. As with Okwara, the mechanics of cutting Vaitai with a pre or post-June 1 designation has different implications cap savings and dead money implications. But also as with Okwara, those distinctions should not make a difference.
Lions top 2023 salary cap hits, No. 6-10 (as of Feb. 27)
6. S Tracy Walker: $11.321 million
7. CB Jeff Okudah: $10.668 million
8. DE Aidan Hutchinson: $8.116 million
9. DE Charles Harris: $7.988 million
10. RT Penei Sewell: $6.572 million
Three rookie contracts in the second half of the Lions’ top-10 2023 salary cap hits says a lot. Harris is a potential cap casualty himself.
A month from now, this list will look a lot different for the Lions. Two, if not three, of these 10 players will be gone. Free agent signings may (should?) shuffle the rest of the list around a bit. But it all points to how good a position the Lions are in.