2022 Lions Salary Cap

This isn’t the way that OTC or Spotrac presents their data, but it is the way that I think it should be viewed, 2021 cash due. It doesn’t matter how much dead money is assigned to a certain year, it is what it is. Once it was paid, it was either going to be dead money or signing bonus proration. It doesn’t matter how much cap savings you get if you cut someone. Teams can move money back and forth between years. This has been done to the nth degree by the Packers (who moved 45M from 2021 to future years), Saints, Pittsburg and others. If we accelerate $5M into the current year by cutting Flowers and you need that money, restructure someone and get it back.

Cash due to a player in the current season is the most significant number.

2022 2023 2024 2025 2026
Frank Ragnow 2,751,529 11,650,000 8,000,000 9,250,000 12,750,000
TJ Hockenson 3,397,895 9,332,000 - - -
Jeff Okudah 3,658,048 5,182,072 - - -
Penei Sewell 1,755,412 2,850,824 3,946,236 - -
Levi Onwuzurike 1,030,404 1,400,808 1,771,212 - -
Jared Goff 26,150,000 25,650,000 26,650,064 - -
Taylor Decker 15,000,000 13,950,000 13,700,000 - -
Romeo Okwara 11,000,000 11,000,000 - - -
Michael Brockers 7,000,000 10,000,000 - - -
D’Andre Swift 1,386,266 1,774,399 - - -
Jamaal Williams 4,000,000 - - - -
Halapoulivaati Vaitai 7,000,000 9,000,000 9,000,000 - -
Will Harris 2,540,000 - - - -
Evan Brown 2,433,000 - - - -
Julian Okwara 1,058,304 1,282,456 - - -
Jonah Jackson 1,046,070 1,216,137 - - -
Austin Bryant 965,000 - - - -
Amani Oruwariye 965,000 - - - -
Austin Seibert 965,000 - - - -
Craig Reynolds 965,000 - - - -
Jordan Thomas 965,000 - - - -
Bruce Hector 965,000 - - - -
Eric Banks 905,000 - - - -
Logan Stenberg 895,000 1,010,000 - - -
Quintez Cephus 895,000 1,010,000 - - -
John Penisini 895,000 1,010,000 - - -
Jashon Cornell 895,000 1,010,000 - - -
Curtis Bolton 895,000 - - - -
Salvion Smith 895,000 - - - -
Dan Skipper 895,000 - - - -
Godwin Igwebuike 895,000 - - - -
Matt Nelson 895,000 - - - -
Bobby Price 895,000 - - - -
Jason Lemonier 895,000 - - - -
Jack Fox 895,000 - - - -
Alim McNeil 893,145 1,126,290 1,359,435 - -
Ifeatu Melifonwu 877,539 1,095,078 1,217,000 - -
Amon-Ra St. Brown 825,000 940,000 1,055,000 - -
Derrick Barnes 825,000 940,000 1,055,000 - -
Jermar Jefferson 825,000 940,000 1,055,000 - -
AJ Parker 825,000 940,000 - - -
Jerry Jacobs 825,000 940,000 - - -
Brady Breeze 825,000 940,000 1,055,000 - -
Hunter Bryant 825,000 - - - -
Trinity Benson 825,000 - - - -
Jared Pinkney 825,000 - - - -
Shane Zylstra 825,000 - - - -
Parnell Motley 825,000 - - - -
Tavante Beckett 825,000 - - - -
Steven Montez 825,000 - - - -
Tom Kennedy 825,000 - - - -
Anthony Pittman 825,000 - - - -
Riley Patterson 825,000 - - - -
Mark Gilbert 825,000 - - - -
Jalen Elliott 825,000 - - - -
Ryan McCollum 825,000 - - - -
Brock Wright 825,000 - - - -
Tommy Kraemer 825,000 - - - -
Scott Daly 825,000 - - - -
Charlie Taumoepeau 705,000 - - - -
Javon McKinley 705,000 - - - -
Matt Sokol 705,000 - - - -
2021 Cash Due Top 51 121,962,612 87,175,168 57,917,711 - -
Signing Bonus Proration 37,895,810 33,653,231 24,370,946 7,200,000 3,600,000
Dead Cap 21,018,785
Cap Charges 180,877,207 120,828,399 82,288,657 7,200,000 3,600,000
Base Cap 208,200,000
Carried over from 2020 1,079,476
Cap Adjustments Est 3,000,000 212,279,476
Rookie Pool 10,000,000
Practice Squad 3,000,000
In Season Moves 7,000,000 20,000,000

**Updated to add some ERFA that I originally forgot and to adjust to the Top 51 (original calculation was top 55 for some reason) and I have a cap adjustment estimate of $3M (actual figure should come out a couple weeks after Super Bowl).

This does a few things.

  • We extend tender’s to all our Exclusive Rights Free Agents (P Jack Fox, K Riley Patterson, LS Scott Daly, RB Godwin Igwebuike, WR Tom Kennedy, TE Brock Wright, TE Rashod Berry, OT Matt Nelson, OG Tommy Kraemer, C Ryan McCollum, LB Jessie Lemonier, S Bobby Price, LB Anthony Pittman)

  • We have 6 Restricted Free Agents (QB David Blough, FB Jason Cabinda, OT Will Holden, C Evan Brown, LB Josh Woods, S CJ Moore) and can tender them Right of First Refusal $2,433,000, 2nd Round Tender $3,986,000 or a 1st round tender $5,562,000. The only tender I see them making is for C Evan Brown and I’d expect it to be a ROFR tender, but could be a 2nd round tender, if the Lions are really intent on keeping him long term. I’d expect some (most) of the others to come back at league minimum salary.

  • The only cut that I’ve done is Trey Flowers. He’s due $16M Base salary plus a $1,625,000 Roster Bonus (which is guaranteed so Lions pay if he’s on the team or not). It’s possible that we whack off his final year and comes back at a reduced salary (we have some leverage).

We have to make decisions on 3 other players (the rest of the players are making either the league min or near the league min):

  • Frank Ragnow, TJ Hockenson, Jeff Okudah, Penei Sewell and Levi Onwuzurike’s 2021 salaries are all fully guaranteed, so they will be on the roster.

  • Jared Goff, Taylor Decker, Romeo Okwara, Michael Brockers and D’Andre Swift all have more than half their 2021 salaries guaranteed and will very likely not be cut

  • Halapoulivaati Vaitai $7,000,000

  • Jamaal Williams $3,000,000 ($1M of his $4M base is guaranteed)

  • Will Harris $2,540,000

  • Unrestricted Free Agents, none are worthy of the franchise tag or transitional tag and the number is the Average Per Year (APY), that I’d expect . . . just a guess on my part.

  • Charles Harris - $8M

  • Tracy Walker - $4M

  • Josh Reynolds - $2.5M

  • Alex Anzalone - $2.5M

  • Nicholas Williams - $1.75M

  • Jalen Reeves-Maybin $1.75M

  • Shaun Dion Hamilton - $1.75M

  • Tim Boyle - $1.75M

  • Tyrell Crosby - $1M

  • Kalif Raymond - $1M

  • Dean Marlowe - $1M

  • KhaDarel Hodge - $1M

  • Joel Heath - $1M


I agree with your pooling the prorated money as a sum, rather than showing it attached to each player. (For the sake of emphasizing their actual salaries and why or why not they would be cut.) It really is a team cap concern and not a player concern (the prorated portion, that is).

Of course, there are going to be conversations where you have to dig deeper into that player’s money and contract, but for the most part it’s the salary/bonuses due to a player that is going to determine whether they’re cut or not.

Anzelone had what looked like a goodbye post on social media, so I’m guessing he’s gone.

Walker is going to be paid much more than 3 mil, I would think. It sure seems like they like him, but we’ll just have to see how much.

Other than that, we’ve pretty much landed at the same spot.

Thanks for the right up.

About 5 years ago I did my own cap analysis…

Without counting did you plug in to the 51/52 cap roster limit with place holder cash amounts? That was something I did because those BIG cap numbers do not reflect a genuine estimate of FA money available.

I also reduced by rookie pool and left, I believe $5,000,000 for in-season needs — could be $7.5m now I suppose.

You rightfully speculated a cash amount for expected Lion FAs — I assume you then plugged in a rough estimate of signing bonus amort in lumped in figure …

Back out those values to get an “effective” cap range available for FA agent acquisitions knowing that you back out the lowest roster number each time you add a FA.

That changes the perception of what’s really available.

I had not thought of listing only cash amounts above. Good idea I think as long as bonus amortization figure includes your Lion FA signings.

Considering the elements I’ve discussed above — is $28m more like $15m?
Regardless, you can sign 1-2 higher priced guys with that amount of money.

3m per year for Tracey Walker? Sign me up. I think he’ll command significantly more than that.


Took a quick look
That $28m figure may be technically correct but it’s not like the Lions are flush with money to spend

They have 7 rookies to sign — I believe that’s about +/- $13m this year — salary + bonus portion

$5m contingency

They have to bring in FA to replace FAs we do not bring back

Sign (maybe) our FAs — the $3m cash portion for Walker might be ok for 2023 but I don’t think the bonus amort is in the bonus number

I’m guessing they can really only sign 1 FA for bigger $$ unless they get rid of guys like JRM,
Austin Bryant, Anzalone, etc

I do not think they will pay Harris $8m

Still a big dead cap number

Going to be more challenging than many here believe at this point

No FA free-for-all this year!!
And I thought they already warned about that

Awesome, brother! Thank you. Will come back and reread, when I can be more present.

Really appreciate you, my man!

Work interfering with football.

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Agreed, which isn’t a shot at anyone, but between the dead money coming off the books and the cutting of Flowers, folks are expecting a lot more money that they’ll have.

Still, as Holmes said in his interview recently, he has more cap and capital to work this year. We’re not going to be scraping the bottom of the barrel on EVERY move this year, unlike last year. We should see 2-4 ~decent~ free agents brought in, depending on what happens with Walker. There’s just not a lot of room there. If we are shopping among premier free agents this year, we’re looking at no more than 2.

I think they only have room for one higher level guy
The rest would be incremental improvements from last year

I question whether they can bring back guys like JRM …

Depends who they get
One thing — their big contracts are not ones that it’d make much sense to restructure


I do believe JRM is affordable and will be brought back. Walker and Harris are the 2 biggest question marks for me.

Could be
And yes, Harris is probably at higher risk of returning

Again, I hope people are understanding the limitations. I expect to see bitterness in posts when the FA haul disappoints :roll_eyes:

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As others mentioned, 3mil for Walker just seems low to me. He has been a plus starter for two of the past three years, and is highly valued by this staff. Anything less then 6mil APY would shock me, and I would expect closer to 8mil APY. May be splitting hairs a bit, but JRM signed for almost 2.5mil last year and that was basically for what he provides on special teams. Now that he has shown he is at least a capable backup, that will likely push him in the 3-4mil APY range. Reynolds is a lot tougher to project. He got just under 2mil from Tennessee last year. He is likely worth more to the Lions than any other team. I do think you do what you can to bring him back as he clearly has a rapport with Goff and if that means paying him a little more, I would. That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me if he settles around the number you provided, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he pushes for 4mil APY either.

As far as the 2022 cap number, I think we have more to work with than most people realize. Right now overthecap has us at just under 24mil with 48 players. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Flowers marked as a post June 1st guy, but for this purpose I will say he isn’t. His release puts us at 47 players and 34mil in cap space. That means only 4 more players will have their salary count fully against the cap. Once we hit the top 51, if we sign a guy that has a 2mil cap number, it pushes the lowest cap value off the roster, which in 2022 is at least 705,000. Overthecap has our rookie pool around 16mil, but as each guy signs and pushes another guy out of the top 51, they will actually add about 10mil in cap space. Add another 5mil to have going into the season and we have roughly 20mil in cap space to spend on any extensions, re-signings, RFA’s or free agents. I don’t see Will Harris sticking on this roster for 2.5mil either. If he doesn’t take a pay cut (knock off 1mil) he is likely cut. Something to consider as well is a lot of these guys on the bottom half of this roster will not make this roster. These 2nd, 3rd or 4th year guys who get cut will likely be replaced on the bottom of the roster by UDFA’s and late round picks. It may only be 150-300k per player, but you are likely to pick up 1-2mil in cap space there as well. So in reality we are likely looking at closer to 22-23mil in true spending money in FA assuming we don’t restructure anyone or make Flowers a June 1st cut.

Guys that are signed to contracts usually have a fairly low year 1 cap number compared to their APY. For example if we sign Charles Harris to a 3 year 24mil contract, his year one cap hit may be 4-5mil. Then you consider his signing pushes a contract off the roster and the cap intself takes on that cap hit - at least 705k.

I personally expect us to push a little space into future years with the cap expected to really take off in the next few years. I see Flowers as a likely post June 1st cut and maybe even a potential restructure for a guy like Decker who we would expect to be here for the life of his contract. That is just my gut feeling after listening to Holmes talk. We are in the stage where we need to add talent in the draft and FA. In 2-3 years I would not expect much to happen with free agency because this team should be a contender at that point.

I personally think we make one big splash in FA at safety (Marcus Williams/Jessie Bates). I also think we sign two more mid level guys (5-8mil APY). That is in conjunction with re-signing Walker and Harris. I wouldn’t be surprised if they make 2-3 low level signing as well (less then 4mil APY). For example

Marcus Williams (15mil APY)
Folrunso Fatukasi (8mil APY)
Leighton Vander Esch (5mil APY)
James Washington (3mil APY)
Eli Apple (3mil APY) He played under Glenn, still think we add a vet CB
Eric Saubert (2.5mil APY) Very good blocking TE

Some of these guys I like, but I am just trying to plug in names for examples. I would not be surprised one bit if we have a free agency haul similar to this. That is 36.5mil in AAV. In actuality the cap space taken up would likely be half that.

For both Harris and Walker . . . I viewed both as “average starter” at their position. For a safety, that’s $3M APY and for and edge rusher that’s $8M APY. I really like Walker, but on the field, I never viewed him as much better than “average” . . .Diggs is only getting $3.2M APY.


Agreed, I think Walker is getting way less than most people think. Frankly I think Williams would too, because safeties really don’t get paid that much.

Even though JRM received $2,377,500 in cash, his cap hit was only $1,127,500 because his contract qualified for Veteran minimum salary benefit. $1.75M last year was the highest you could pay someone without them qualifying for compensatory pick consideration. As a result, there were a lot of players who were paid $1.75M last year (Harris and Anzalone were two that the Lions paid that amount for). That $1.75M figure might be a little higher this year.

There is no benefit from designating Flowers as a June 1 release. If you designate a player as a June 1 release, you must carry his cap charge on the books until June 1, it doesn’t free up money to use in UFA. Flowers will not be designated as a June 1 release. If you designate Flowers as a June 1 release, you free up an additional $5.6M, but you have to carry $16M for Flowers on the books until June 1st.

We will have to either with signing our UFA’s, the UFA’s that we bring in or with restructures.

Did we do something with Will Harris’ rookie contract? Isn’t he on the last year of his rookie contract? That number looks high compared to the last year of Swift, Levi, Jokwara, and Jonah.

If Walker is only worth 3mil., its hard to justify W Harris @ 2.5M. But I guess its not a big issue either way.

JRM to me would be a real bargain at 1.75M

Goff is definitely the elephant in the room. sigh.

I think the cap roster has changed from top 51 to top 53


That’s enough space to sign Davante Adams. We’re good.

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