Salary cap space a fluid situation
Drafting Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh with the first and second overall picks has indeed helped to turn the Lions around, but it came at a cost. For Stafford six years for $72 million with $41.7 million guaranteed. For
Suh, it was a five-year, $68 million contract with $40 million guaranteed
Now the salary cap looks to be an issue for the Lions and many other NFL teams. Team president Tom Lewand tried to calm fears about limited cap space when he had a conference call with season ticket holders two weeks ago.
He compared looking at the Lions cap space to looking at a still shot from a movie. It’s just part of the story.
“We have to look things as they fit today but we also have to project out into the future,’’ Lewand said on that call.
They will create space by restructuring contracts. Calvin Johnson is mentioned most often because they are working on an extension (he has just a year left) and along with that will restructure his payments.
Give Lewand some credit here. Before he was team president and before he led the way on the construction of Ford Field, Lewand was known as the salary cap guru for the Lions. While this cap is different, Lewand has years of experience in figuring out how to stay under the cap.
The Lions want to keep players like Cliff Avril, Stephen Tulloch and Jeff Backus. They’ve been very clear about that. Those players should not have to take hometown discounts, the Lions know that. There should be a way to fit them in and do it before free agency opens on March 13.
The Lions’ first draft pick is at 23rd overall this year which will also help. Along with the fact that the new CBA includes a rookie salary cap.
(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Get Lions news delivered directly to your phone by texting the keyword "Lions" to 22700. Msg & Data Rates May Apply. Text HELP for help. Text STOP to cancel.)