Could the Detroit Lions Have Salary Cap Problems This Year?
Your gridiron heroes, The Detroit Lions, are 0-8 heading into Sunday's road tilt at the Pittsburgh Steelers.
That's bad enough, but the Lions could have even bigger problems involving something they deal with every year. That would be the salary cap.
According to spotrac.com/nfl, the Lions are just over $1 million under the cap. That isn't very much considering that there are nine games left in the regular season. Don't forget that every player that's on their roster, whether it's the active roster, practice squad, or injured reserve, counts against the cap.
But a big chunk of the problem is what's called "the dead cap". This is money that has already been paid out to the players (in most cases) who are no longer on the roster, but still count against the cap because they were either released or traded in the last year or so, and still have time left on their existing contract.
For example, even though Matthew Stafford was traded, he still counts $19,000,000 against the Lions cap for 2021 (had two years left on his deal). Linebacker Jamie Collins was released earlier this season, but he still counts over $7 million on the cap this year. And he counts over $6 million next year (the last year of his original contract).
With the Lions cutting tight end Darren Fells and wide receiver Tyrell Williams this week, the Lions have over $60 million of the nearly $200 million committed to guys who aren't on the team anymore. $60 million!!!!
Unless they have no further injuries (they currently have 12 players on IR) or don't cut anybody else this season (which is unlikely), then they'll be OK. But if the Lions have more injuries, they may have to cut some active players just to stay under the cap.
The Lions (or any other team) can not be over the cap at any point during the season. The New England Patriots were so snug against the cap a month ago, that they had to trade All-Pro defensive back Stephon Gilmore to the Carolina Panthers just to stay under the cap this season.
The salary cap is just another thing to pay attention to as this season rolls on for your gridiron heroes.