Easily seen as a potential cap casualty for the Detroit Lions, Romeo Okwara is taking a huge pay cut to stick around instead.
The Detroit Lions have made a few moves to clear extra cap space. Michael Brockers was an easy cut, Charles Harris took a pay cut to stay and now Romeo Okwara has done the same as Harris after being easily tabbed as a potential cap casualty.
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Okwara has agreed to a renegotiated contract to drop his 2023 cap hit from $14.5 million to $5.6 million. More specifically, via Over The Cap, Okwara’s base salary for this year has dropped from $11 million to $2 million. He has the ability to earn money back via a $500,000 per game roster bonus, which would total $8.5 million if he was active for all 17 games next season.
Okwara is still entering the final year of his three-year contract, so this is an outright pay cut to stay with the Lions. Since signing his deal in 2021, coming of leading the team with 10 sacks in 2020, an Achilles tear in Week 4 of the 2021 season cost him the rest of that season and 12 games last season.
Romeo Okwara took pay cut in lieu of being cut by the Lions
The Lions would have gained $7.5 million in cap space by cutting Okwara, with $7 million in dead money as a pre-June 1 cut. So they actually cleared more space with him taking the pay cut he did, and the $3.5 million cap hit for the void year in 2024 (prorated signing bonus) remains.
Okwara could still be cut before Week 1, and the Lions would take on a $3.5 million dead money hit with the $2.147 million in cap savings.
Truly, coming off two seasons impacted by a major injury and with general inconsistent production in his career, Okwara would not have found much on the open market. So the Lions had all the leverage, with the ability to ask him to take whatever pay cut they wanted. Or, he could be cut and take himself to an open market that would not be kind on a one-year deal.
As long as the Lions were willing to keep him, even strictly on their conditions, Okwara had little choice but to take the financial hair cut and stay in Detroit.