Naming just 1 underpaid Lions player for 2024 is a tough exercise

  • The Lions aren't paying much of anyone big money yet, so choosing just one underpaid player is difficult
  • Bleacher Report took a run at it though
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The time of some big contract reckoning is obviously coming over the next few years. But right now as it sits the Detroit Lions are not paying much of anyone notable money into the future, and one just player has a cap hit higher than $19.1 million this year. Knock it down to a $15 million cap hit, and there are two players who exceed that for this year right now.

Along that line, even with performance bonuses coming for some guys based on what they did last season, a lot Lions' players can fit into the category of "underpaid" for 2024. That's a credit to the work general manager Brad Holmes has done thus far in his tenure to build last year's NFC runner-up, in the draft as well as free agency.

Coming of the peak of free agency for this year, Bleacher Report's Brad Gagnon recently named one underpaid player on each NFL team.

So who is it for the Lions?

Picking 1 Lions underpaid player for 2024 comes down to the premise of choosing just 1

Is it Amon-Ra St. Brown? Before he gets a deal that will make him one of the league's highest-paid wide receivers, he's got a base salary less than $3.4 million for this year. New signing Kevin Zeitler looks like a steal. The young stars who are on rookie contracts (Aidan Hutchinson, Sam LaPorta, Jahmyr Gibbs, etc.) could surely qualify as underpaid too.

Gagnon went with right tackle Penei Sewell as the most underpaid Lion this year.

"The 2024 season will be the last in which the 23-year-old will come cheap, but the fact remains that he's a dominant first-team All-Pro who will make just $7.7 million in 2024."

The Lions can (will?) kick the can a little bit on a long-term deal for Sewell by picking up his fifth-year option before May 2 (a no-brainer if there ever was one). That will pay him $19.04 million next season, based on Over The Cap's projection. Picking up the fifth-year option is a placeholder for an eventual contract that will make Sewell one of the highest-paid offensive tackles in the league.

Sewell is arguably the best right tackle in the NFL, with two Pro Bowl trips over his first three seasons. As Gagnon wrote he's still cheap this year, before he gets paid in line with his skill level on a multi-year deal.


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