Detroit Lions add a little bit of cap space with Charles Harris restructure

Credit: Detroit Free Press-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Detroit Free Press-USA TODAY Sports /

Charles Harris was a potential cap casualty for the Detroit Lions, but he’s now likely sticking around after a contract restructure.

The Detroit Lions took a chance on Charles Harris in 2021 free agency, and after he led the team in sacks that season they rewarded him with a multi-year deal last offseason. It didn’t go nearly as well last season, as Harris missed 11 games and had just one sack in the six games he did play.

Harris was easy to tab as a potential cap casualty for the Lions, if only because his role for next season would be not match up well with his nearly $8 million cap hit entering the offseason.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates on Wednesday morning, the Lions have renegotiated Harris’ contract and created $2.82 million in cap space for 2023.

The terminology is important to note here. Yates used the word “renegotiated” rather than “restructured.” A contract restructure moves money into future years. Saying “renegotiated” suggests Harris took an outright pay cut in lieu of being cut. It’s hard to see the Lions tacking on void years, or adding any meaningful years or money to Harris’ original deal.

UPDATE: Via Over The Cap, Harris’ base salary for 2023 has dropped from $6 million to $3 million.

Charles Harris contract restructure is not very meaningful for the Lions

Adding money to your balance sheet is never a bad thing, but $2.8 million just isn’t that Earth-shattering and almost not worth the effort by the Lions here. Frankly, even with the caveat of an injury, Harris turned into a poor investment last season coming off the best year of his career. And as the Lions add pieces to the defensive line, he will be a backup who’s used less and less. He’s just not going to be getting paid as much this year, and rightfully so.

Harris was almost surely given a “take it or leave it” remodeled contract proposition by the Lions. Take it and stay around this year, or leave it, be cut and take yourself to the open market. He probably made the right choice, all things considered, but that speaks to his minimal value on the broader market more than anything.

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