Details of Cameron Sutton contract with Detroit Lions reveal minimal 2023 cap hit
The details of Cameron Sutton’s contract with the Detroit Lions are out, and the 2023 cap hit is remarkably low.
Initial reports of NFL free agent contracts are always devoid of deep details, as reporters use agents as sources and deals aren’t always what they seem when the devil of those details is revealed. Still, the three-year, $33 million deal ($22.5 million guaranteed) the Detroit Lions agreed to with cornerback Cameron Sutton on Monday was a fairly splashy deal.
Sutton was one of the top cornerbacks available on the free agent market, and the Lions wasted no time making a significant move to address their biggest need.
Doug Kyed of AtoZ Sports first had the details of Sutton’s deal with the Lions.
Three years, $33 million,, $10.9 million signing bonus, $22.5 million total guaranteed
2023: $1.1 million base salary (fully guaranteed)
2024: $10.5 million base salary (guaranteed for injury at signing, $9 million guaranteed for skill/cap, $1.5 million guaranted for skill/cap on third day of 2024 league year)
2025: $10.5 million base salary
Two void years
Yes that’s just a $1.1 million fully guaranteed base salary for Sutton in 2023. Per Over The Cap, his 2023 cap number is $3.28 million.
Lions spread out signing bonus cap hit with two void years on Cameron Sutton deal
Void years have become an easy way to spread out the cap hit for a signing bonus to kick the can into future years. The Lions did it last year in their deal with DJ Chark, and the previous year in Romeo Okwara’s deak. So Sutton currently has a cap hit for the Lions in 2026 ($4.36 million, via Over The Cap) that’s more than his cap hit for 2023.
Tacking on those void years clearly impacted Over The Cap’s grade of the Sutton deal.
"This is a good signing by the Lions and a pretty reasonably priced contract for one of the first corners off the board this year. Sutton has been on the field for almost every snap for the Steelers the last two years and has developed into a solid player at the position. While he is a little older than some other free agents expecting two years is a fair expectation. The only thing I do not really like here is the void years….Grade: C+"
Sutton is a bit older at age-28, and he will turn 30 in February of 2025. As a practical matter the Lions are married to him for two years, with a patable potential out in 2025. Via Over The Cap, a pre-June 1 cut in 2025 would clear $6.14 million in cap space with $6.5 million in dead money. Post-June 1, it becomes $10.5 million in cleared cap room.
While void years can be a slippery slope to move cap money around, the Lions didn’t impact their future balance sheet that much by doing two void years on Sutton’s deal. If he performs as expected, like a No. 1 corner, a reworking of his deal into an extension would likely render those void years irrelevent.