Actual details of Josh Reynolds' deal with Broncos concretely prove how little Lions valued him

The details of Josh Reynolds' contract with the Denver Broncos prove how little the Lions valued him.


For reasons related strictly to his likely role and what he could possibly get on the open market, Josh Reynolds was always most likely to become a former Detroit Lion in free agency.

So it was a little surprising when general manager Brad Holmes called him part of the "Plan A" in free agency at the league meetings this past week. Coupled with Dan Campbell's comments at the league meetings, the door was cracked open for Reynolds to be re-signed.

The following day, coincidentally or not, Reynolds agreed to terms with the Denver Broncos. The deal was reported for two years and "up to" $14 million. The devil of how he could get up to $14 million over two years would come when the details of the contract came out.

On Saturday, Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap reported the details of Reynolds' contract with Denver.

Actual details of Josh Reynolds' deal with Broncos concretely proves how little Lions valued him

Fitzgerald reported Reynolds' contract with the Broncos as two years and $9 million. He's getting a $2 million signing bonus, and his $2.245 million base salary for 2024 is also fully guaranteed. He has a $255,000 in total per game roster bonuses for this year, and $510,000 in total per game roster bonuses for 2025.

Since Reynolds played all 17 games for the Lions last season, that full $255,000 in per game roster bonuses counts as "likely to be earned" for salary cap hit purposes in 2024. His cap hit for this year is $3.5 million.

The Broncos can easily cut Reynolds one year into the deal, clearing $4.5 million in cap space and taking a $1 million dead money hit (signing bonus proration) for 2025.

There are no details yet about how (or if) Reynolds can get "up to" the initially reported $14 million over two years. But it's surely performance-based, and perhaps not very likely to be earned.

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported the Lions made a below market offer to Reynolds at the start of free agency, then maintained little contact with him in subsequent weeks. That news showed they were not all that serious about bringing him back.

But if Reynolds ultimately got a fairly reasonable $4.5 million per year, with a only a firm commitment for one year, what did that early offer look like? Everything else that was done contradicts what Holmes said about Reynolds being a priority. The actual deal he got from Denver reinforces that the Lions were never going to bring him back, no matter the cost.

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