4 moves the Detroit Lions can make to clear $40 million in salary cap space

The Lions are in fine shape cap-wise, but here's how they can add a lot more space.

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3. Cut Tracy Walker (pre-June 1)

The Lions rewarded Walker for a rebound season in 2021 with a three-year, $25 million contract. Then he suffered a torn Achilles in Week 3 of the 2022 season. He made a speedy recovery with no known setbacks, but his role changed with the signing of C.J. Gardner-Johnson.

But Gardner-Johnson suffered torn pectoral in Week 2 this past season, and Walker found himself back in a big role for the next 10 games. He had some ups and downs, then Ifeatu Melifonwu replaced him as a starter and had a breakout run down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs.

Walker was relegated to special teams duty, then he was a healthy scratch for all three of the Lions' playoff games. That felt like a pre-cursor to an offseason move to let him go.

Walker's cap hit for 2024 is $12.8 million, which is currently the third-highest on the team. He could have his contract restructured, which would clear $3.4 million in cap space. Or he may have some trade value, as a former starter who'll be further removed from a major injury.

Cutting Walker before June 1 would clear $5.5 million in cap space for the Lions (with $7.3 million in dead money). A post-June 1 cut would make it $8 million in cap savings, while shifting $2.5 million in dead money to 2025. But to make it simple, we'll use a pre-June 1 cut in the calculation.

2024 added cap space tally: $10.1 million

Update, Feb. 20, 5:30 p.m. ET: According to multiple reports, the Lions have told Walker they will be releasing him.