5 grossly underpaid Detroit Lions players in 2024

The financial piper will be paid on some guys in time, but these five Lions players fall firmly in the underpaid category this year.
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2. DB Brian Branch

Branch fell to the second round of the 2023 draft for non-football reasons (small size, a slow 40-yard dash at the combine). But anyone who watched his tape at Alabama knew he was in a unique category as a versatile playmaker in the secondary..

The Lions gladly traded up a few spots to get him, and he rewarded them with an excellent rookie season as their primary slot corner (74 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, a team-high 13 pass breakups, PFF's No. 14 cornerback). He may see more time at safety this year, with all the additions that were made at cornerback, but it would be foolish to pull him off the slot corner role too much.

A second-round pick's contract also means Branch carries just a $1.8 million cap hit this year, which lands between Josh Paschal and Brock Wright among cap hits for the Lions. No offense to those two players, but Branch's value and impact is much greater than theirs. He's easily underpaid this year, and he will be for a couple more years to come.

1. WR Amon-Ra St. Brown

Yes, St. Brown is about to get a lot more expensive. But his massive four-year contract extension doesn't kick in until 2025, and even with an adjustment due to signing bonus proration, etc. his 2024 cap hit is still shy of $4.9 million. Even next year, his cap hit is currently a reasonable $13.91 million.

St. Brown has been one of the most productive wide receivers in the league over his first three seasons, and even that can be narrowed to from the back half of his rookie season through last season to some degree; to look even more impressive. He has outperformed many of the 16 receivers who were drafted before him, and he has become one of the Lions' core players. Making him one of the highest-paid wide receivers in the NFL, and the highest paid for about 24 hours, was automatic.

But the time for St. Brown's earnings to fully befit what he does on (and off) the field is not here just yet. For 2024, he is incredibly underpaid one last year.

Next. 5 Detroit Lions players who are next up for a contract extension. 5 Detroit Lions players who are next up for a contract extension. dark