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How Much Cap Space Does Cutting Veterans Save Lions?

The Detroit Lions are approximately $20 million over the salary cap prior to the start of the new league year.

The NFL announced earlier this week that it has raised the salary-cap floor from $175 million to $180 million. 

Last season, the league's salary cap was set at $198.2 million. However, the 2021 cap number is expected to see a drop due to the global pandemic. 

As a result of the Stafford trade and taking on the contract of quarterback Jared Goff, the Lions' new cap number is approximately $199.35 million -- a number that is significantly over the league's current salary cap. 

One of the moves that can instantly save money is new Lions general manager Brad Holmes restructuring Goff's contract. 

According to USA Today's Lions Wire, "The easiest way to do that is to restructure the deal and convert some of the 2021 salary to a signing bonus. That would tack on some dead guaranteed money after 2022, but the cap figures to be back to more normal levels by that time (presuming the COVID-19 pandemic is quelled by then). Saving $20 million in 2021 by potentially giving away $7 million in 2023 cap room is a viable tradeoff with the cap dropping by tens of millions for 2021."

Here is a list of the top veterans that Detroit could move on from and how much cap space could be saved. 

  • Cornerback Desmond Trufant -- $6.2 million
  • Cornerback Justin Coleman -- $4.9 million
  • Defensive tackle Nick Williams -- $4.7 million
  • Offensive lineman Joe Dahl -- $2.8 million
  • Defensive tackle Danny Shelton -- $4 million
  • Linebacker Christian Jones -- $2.6 million
  • Tight end Jesse James -- $2.1 million
  • Quarterback Chase Daniel -- $2.3 million

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