Detroit Lions land nice spot in Pro Football Focus' three-year salary cap analysis

The Detroit Lions are emerging from some doldrums on the field, and by correlation the picture looks bright off the field too.

When the Detroit Lions entered into another rebuild in 2021, some pain was expected. Honoring Matthew Stafford's request to be traded was going to leave behind some big immediate dead money, and things would get better there in 2022.

With the roster shifting younger, the Lions look quite good for 2023 from a balance sheet perspective. Big future obligations, while coming for some core players (Penei Sewell, Amon-Ra St. Brown, etc.), are almost non-existent right now.

If the Lions had a notable move on their minds before this season started, they could do it with close to $23 million in cap space right now (via Over The Cap).

So the present and future both look bright for the Lions, on and off the field. Having a lot of young talent on rookie contracts will do that, and the work general manager Brad Holmes, COO Mike Disner and the front office has done should be commended.

Detroit Lions look good in Pro Football Focus' 3-year salary cap analysis

Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus (subscription required) is out with a three-year salary cap analysis for all 32 NFL teams. The categories used are Top-51 Valuation (the value of each team's top-51 cap hits, minus this year's draft picks), Active Draft Capital (rookie contract players, counting rookies), 2023-2025 Total Salary Cap Space, Total Prorated Money (think signing bonuses) and 2024 Free Agent Valuation (a money projection more than a strict attempt at valuation).

The Lions are top-10 in 2023-2025 cap space (sixth), active draft capital (seventh) and total prorated money). They are 11th in 2023 free agent valuation. A 22nd ranking in top-51 veteran valuation drags them down to.....fifth overall in the ranking.

Spielberger noted and praised the Lions a couple times in the article.

"A Lions franchise on the rise cracks the top five: Detroit ranks in the top 10 in 2023-25 cap space and the bottom 10 in total prorated money, with not many major internal extensions pending."

"Blockbuster trades at premium positions — for years an extreme rarity — have seemingly become the norm. Teams are more honest with themselves about the talent on their roster or lack thereof. For example, the Detroit Lions moved on from quarterback Matthew Stafford as opposed to chasing mediocrity and prolonging their inevitable rebuild."

It's not shocking to see the Lions are in good roster shape moving forward, with the ability to keep adding talent to a young core that will remain young for a while yet. But it's nice to see actual numbers (h/t to Lions Wire for those specific numbers), and a nice three-year outlook ranking among all 32 teams, put to the notion.

dark. Next. 3 veterans who won't be on the Detroit Lions roster come Week 1. 3 veterans who won't be on the Detroit Lions roster come Week 1