Here Is My Off-Season Plan

I really do think we are really close to building a legitimate top 5 NFL team, but we still do have some glaring holes. I think plugging a rookie into all those holes is a dangerous proposition if we want to field a contender in 2023. I mentioned this before, but I think it would be a mistake if this regime just completely stood pat in FA and stuck to 1 year prove it deals. That doesn’t mean we need to splurge, but this defense needs a couple veterans to stabilize it, IMO. So for those that want to take the time to see what my opinion is, here it goes.

Off-Season Cuts/Restructures

Cut Michael Brockers (10mil Cap Savings)
Restructure Halapoulivaati Vatai (Eliminate 2024, 2023 Base Salary Goes From 9.4mil to 4mil, 2.5mil Cap Savings as 2024 Dead Money Accelerates)
Restructure Romeo Okwara (Slash 2023 Base Salary From 11mil to 6mil, 5mil Cap Savings)
Restruture Charles Harris (Slash Base Salary From 6mil to 3mil, 3mil Cap Savings)
Restructure Frank Ragnow (Convert 10mil of His Base Salary Into a Bonus Creating 7.5mil in Space)
Restructure Taylor Decker (Convert 12mil of His Base Salary Into a Bonus Creating 8mil in Space)

That is a total savings of 36mil. It may not seem realistic that all three of these guys come back on pay cuts, but I wouldn’t count it out. This staff has singled out all three of these players as guys they really like at one point in time. I don’t believe that has changed. The facts are all three represent significant cost savings if cut and have an exorbitant base salary. Coming off the injuries they are, none of them are worth the money they are currently making. Does anyone here think Harris can get more than 3mil on the open market? What about Vatai getting more than 4mil coming off back surgery? Anybody else committing 6mil to Romeo just one year removed from his achilles? I think the staff will want these guys back at the right price and I believe all three want to come back. This is the middle ground. Walker was another one to consider, but he actually holds the cards as we would incur more costs by cutting him so i don’t think that is an option.


DJ Chark, 3 years 36mil, Year 1 Cap Hit 8mil
Jamaal Williams, 3 Years 15mil, Year 1 Cap Hit 3mil
Isaiah Buggs, 3 Years 9mil, Year 1 Cap Hit 2mil
John Cominsky, 4 Years 24mil, Year 1 Cap Hit 3.25mil
DeShon Elliot, 3 Years 18mil, Year 1 Cap Hit 4mil
Will Harris, 2 Years 5mil,Year 1 Cap Hit 2mil
Alex Anzalone, 2 Years 8mil, Year 1 Cap Hit 3mil
Justin Jackson, 1 Year 1.25mil

I have us re-signing most of our guys as I believe a lot of these guys are the “glue guys” Campbell references. I believe a loaded safety market will keep Elliot’s cost down.

Free Agency

Javon Hargrave, DT - 3 Years 45mil, Year 1 Cap Hit 10mil - This is my splash signing. We likely won’t have a shot at Carter and I’m not sold on any of DT prospects. We absolutely need a DT who can be a force rushing the passer next year. Da’Ron Payne will get way overpaid due to his age and the position he plays. I think Payne is a good player, but not worth the 20mil+ he is going to get. Hargrave is pushing 30, but shows no signs of slowing down. He has been consistent throughout his career and fits the hard working gritty mindset this staff loves. On top of that he has the 3rd best pass rush grade per PFF of all interior defenders. This guys transforms this DLine, and entire defense from day 1, IMO. Guarantee all his 1st and 2nd year salaries to keep the signing bonus down so you have an out in year 3 once he turns 32.

Rashad Fenton, CB - 1 Year, 4mil - See below from PFF. He needs to rehab his value somewhere he can play to his strengths and have a good opportunity to start. He is a tough physical CB in run support as well which is important for this staff. Falls in line with the one year prove it deals we tend to hand out.

Fenton has quietly been highly reliable over his three-year NFL career. Despite being a sixth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the former South Carolina Gamecock owns the second-highest career coverage grade among cornerbacks in that class (83.0). He fell in the draft partly because of subpar physical traits for NFL standards, but that hasn’t been an issue. His tackling stands out more than any other part of his game, as he has missed just twice on 103 attempts since 2019.

Gardner Minshew, QB - 2 Years, 8mil, Year 1 Cap Hit 3mil - The backup QB market is loaded this year. Minshew is my favorite of the bunch and I think him and Campbell would be a very good personality fit.

Matt Gay, K - 4 Years 16mil, Year 1 Cap hit 2.5mil - We expect to be a very good team next year. We cannot play games trying to find a kicker on the cheap or rely on a rookie. Bagley was decent, but he has a weak leg and even though his percentage was solid his kicks didn’y always seem clean. Don’t overthink this, invest in a reliable kicker.

NFL Draft

#6 Overall - TRADE The Lions trade their #6 (1600), #59 (310), and #81 (185) to the Texans for #12 (1200), #33 (580), #73 (225), and #103 (88) The Lions move up in a couple rounds and grab a 4th and the Texans get to move up for Queinton Johnston to pair with their new QB.

#12 Overall - Bijan Robinson, RB - This guy takes this offense to another level. I was originally against this for many reasons, but after stewing on this I just think it makes too much sense.

#18 Overall - Brian Branch, CB - It feels like all the top CB’s have question marks one way or another. branch feels like one of the safest picks and I truly think he could be an elite nickeback. In today’s NFL, your nickelback still plays over 70% of the snaps. He also has the size to be an outside CB as well.

#33 Overall - Devon Witherspoon, CB - We need serious help at CB next season. I would not be surprised one bit to see the Lions grab two CB’s in the first three rounds. I really like Witherspoon as a prospect and adding him and Branch would be huge for this secondary.

#48 Overall - O’Cyrus Torrence, G - Can come in from day 1 in our heavy packages and contribute and will compete with Vatai to start. This kid is a road grader and having Ragnow, Torrence, and Sewell on that right side would be very intimidating.

#73 Overall - Jack Campbell, LB’er - We need a more traditonal MLB to replace Anzalone by 2024 at the latest. Campell would not need to be rushed into action and can learn behind a solid vetern presence in Anzalone.

#103 Overall - Keanu Benton, NT - We need another big body in the middle to clog up running lanes. I don’t see a ton of upside here, but his floor as a very good run defender in obvious running downs is good enough at this point in the draft.

#152 Overall - Cameron Ward, QB - We need a developmental QB on this roster. Ward is very raw, but possesses enough NFL traits to develop into a quality player.

#181 Overall - Puka Nacua, WR - We need to bring in some young WR talent late in the draft this year as both Reynolds and Raymond are FA in 2024. This kid has some long term potential, but is unlikely to make a year 1 impact.

#192 Overall - Carter Warren, OT - We need better depth behind Decker and Penei. I haven’t dove into this class enough, but I like what I’ve seen so far from this kid in the later rounds.

2023 NFL 53 Man Roster


QB - Jared Goff ($30,650,000), Gardner Minshew ($3,000,000), Cameron Ward ($836,223)

RB - Bijan Robinson ($3,437,878), Jamaal Williams ($3,000,000), D’Andre Swift ($2,716,929), Justin Jackson ($1,250,000)

FB - Jason Cabinda ($2,565,000)

TE - James Mitchell ($930,639), Brock Wright ($940,000), Shane Zylstra (940,000)

WR - Amon Ra St-Brown ($1,136,315), Jameson Williams ($3,968,589), DJ Chark ($14,321,666), Josh Reynolds ($4,000,000), Kalif Raymond ($3,025,000), Puka Nacua ($803,835)

LT - Taylor Decker ($11,350,000), Carter Warren ($797,575)

LG - Jonah Jackson ($1,478,278), Tommy Kraemer ($940,000)

C - Frank Ragnow ($8,875,000)

RG - Halapoulivaati Vatai ($9,996,388), O’Cyrus Torrence ($1,408,341)

RT - Penei Sewell ($6,572,473)


Edge - Aidan Hutchinson ($8,116,679), James Houston ($945,000), John Cominsky ($3,250,000), Romeo Okwara ($9,500,000), Josh Pascal ($1,758,104), Charles Harris ($4,988,333)

DT - Alim McNeil ($1,398,88), Javon Hargrave ($10,000,000), Isaiah Buggs ($2,000,000, Levi Onwuzurike ($2,222,425), Keanu Benton ($971,853)

LB’er - Malcolm Rodriguez ($916,982), Derrick Barnes ($1,135,302), Alex Anzalone ($3,000,000), Jack Campbell ($1,043,923),

CB - Jeff Okudah ($10,668,167), Jerry Jacobs ($941,168, Rashad Fenton ($4,000,000), Brian Branch ($2,826,034), Devon Witherspoon ($1,811,263), Will Harris ($2,000,000)

S - Kerby Joseph ($1,146,569), DeShon Elliot(4,000,000), Tracy Walker (11,321,666), Ifeatu Melifonwu ($1,305,232)


K - Matt Gay ($2,500,000)
P - Jack Fox ($3,565,000)
LS - Scott Daly ($940,000)
KR - Justin Jackson
PR - Kalif Raymond

That would be a total of $216,295,635 committed to player contracts with an additional $4,273,770 in dead money bringing our total cap commitment to $220,569,405. That would leave us with about 7mil for practice squad and in season moves. Obviously these numbers will change some once they finalize the official cpa numbers for each team before the new league year. I just wanted to lay everything out to see what we are working with and what moves may be realistic or not. Thanks for all those who took the time to read all that and I understand if you didn’t :sweat_smile:.

By my count we would have 37 players under contract for 2024 with about 40mil in cap space, and that incudes picking up Jeff Okudahs 11.3mil option and all the contracts I laid out.


Expensive FAs are the difference between a 3 year window of opportunity & an infinite window of opportunity.

Patience, patience, patience.


Could also be the difference in never getting over the hump. We will not have to start paying these youngs guys for 2+ season yet. IMO, we can afford to bring in one high cost player this off-season. As I mentioned at the bottom of my post, we would still have over 40mil in cap space with all these moves, including picking up Okudah’s option. The only key FA’s would be Jonah Jackson and D’Andre Swift. Re-sign Jackson and let Swift walk and you sitll have a good amount of money to start extending players and any other moves necesary.

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One other thing to mention, you need more than just coaches to teach these young players. A guy like Hargrave can help mentor these young guys like Hutch, McNeil, Pascal, Levi, and Houston. I personally think he could be really big in helping Levi develop into something worthwhile.


I think we are all so excited about potentially having a quality team it’s easy to lose sight of how we got here and want to go all in on our “pair of kings.”

I myself have made some suggestions that looking back would take us right back to where we were.

We need to stay the course. Bring back “our guys” and build through the draft and short term contracts for guys to come show they belong here. Let Chicago go blow their load on guys who may or may not be motivated solely by cash.

That doesn’t mean we don’t pay FAs it means we don’t sign people to long term contracts before understanding their personalities and motivations.


I’m with you all the way on adding a DT in free agency or the draft. I just don’t know if Holmes would go after a 30 year old DT. The last time we brought in a 30 year old DT his name was Brockers. I think Holmes will be focusing on younger free agents. Guy in the 25-27 year old range.


It really could. Depends on how much you believe in your GM’s ability to get the right guys through the draft.

I just trust whatever Holmes does. I think he’s amazing. Guys like Sewell will be home grown third year vet leadership next year. I trust that. We need more, & we are getting there.

Goff is good leadership that is getting better by the week.
Hutch is still a puppy, but he’s gettin there.
Commish is SO grateful…Buggs is a great Locker room guy.
Okuxah is a great leader.

…we’re getting there. We DO need some vet leadership still, & I think we’re getting there.

Patience, is my strategy on this. Dan will have them outperforming what they are expected to do.

This is what I mean by saying NFCN champs, winning 2 playoff games…AN D… still rebuilding

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Nice work. I know that sort of post can take a long time to put together and think through. I like a lot of the players you picked.

I have sort of been pondering the idea that perhaps the best way to get a 3 tech is to trade for a vet with a team who is rebuilding. I don’t know which team or anything but perhaps that is a better idea than some big contract.


I see the value in this. I remember watching how much KVB helped Suh grow.

This is why you keep hearing Dan pump up Brockers. We never even see that MF’r on the field, but our coach keeps praising him.


Wherefore Cephus?

To be or not to be injured is the question!?

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Duce Staley’s time in Philly overlapped with Hargrave. They may have been on different sides of the ball, but Staley got an up close look at him everday and will know everything we need to about his habits and if he is a fit. He has also been a consistent producer for the majority of his career. Most DT’s can play at a very high level into their early 30’s. He is also EXACTLY what we are looking for in a DT, IMO.

This isn’t Jacksonville of 2022 or New England of 2021. They splurged. This would be one big FA signing and a couple low end signings.

How many teams have bulilt Superbowl contenders solely building through the draft? If just doesn’t happen very often as the turnover of an NFL roster makes it difficult to fill all your holes just through the draft. My personal belief is you build through the draft and supplement in FA. Hargrave would literally be our biggest FA signing in three seasons.

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This is what you would do, but do you really believe it’s what Brad will do? (I realize it’s your offseason plan, just wondering).

I have a ton of faith in Brad, especially in the draft. We just have too many holes to plug this year, and this team should be going into this off-season expecting to compete for the chance to represent the NFC in the Superbowl. We also have one of the youngest teams in the NFL and that showed this year, especially on defense. Getting a couple vets to stabilize the young guys a little will go a long way.

But very few teams, even Super Bowl hopefuls, fill all of their needs in one offseason.

Would I put money on it? no I would not. Do I think Brad may make this move if they deem him a culture fit and it fills a major need without having to overpay? I honestly do. I’ve listened to every press conference he has had. He mentioned last year that they were moving into the player acquisition phase. That doesn’t mean just building through the draft.

I do believe Brad will be selective though. If he makes a big move he is going to have a lot of conviction and belief that it was the right move. He won’t feel pressured to make a splash just because.

I would agree, so let me clarify. The good teams, and I mean the really good teams, identify their weaknesses and are aggressive to fix them. See the Chiefs a couple years ago when they lost the Superbowl because their OLine was trash. They completely overhauled it in one off-season. The Lions sore spot was clearly an interior pass rush and their CB’s. Adding a few rookies will not solve those problems, IMO. They need some proven talent as well. Not saying it has to be Hargrave, but I think it should be someone worthwhile.

If Chark is back, Cephus is not cracking the top 5. That leaves only one spot, IF they keep a 6th WR. Given his injuries and being in the last year of his deal I’d rather guy someone younger that can replace Reynolds after 2023.

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My biggest concerns in order.

  1. DT. Is there even one available that fits the bill? I reeeeaaally wont’ want to “bandaid” that particular position

  2. OG Yup → trenches first. We need to get V on a muuuuch more friendly contract, if we believe he can return, or draft a guy who can be the long term answer (maybe both)

  3. RB. I love Swifty, but his health and his spirit seem to be giving up. Let’s get Swift’s replacement NOW!!! That way he has room to learn without being in danger of costing us games by not knowing blocking assignments, etc.

  4. CB I think we have some growing pains this year too, as CBs take awhile to develop, & we need 'em.

If we get the right DT, CB is a far smaller “issue” to contend with.
We just smash thier face in with the defensive line and press cover to knock them off of hot routes/timing routes.

Would like to see what you think Brad will do that DT spot.

I’m thinking he might look for a guy like Dre’Mont Jones instead of Payne and Hargrave.