Ranking Lions' Best 2024 'Bargains'

Evaluating the Lions' top-five "bargain" players headed into 2024.
Ifeatu Melifonwu
Ifeatu Melifonwu / Matt Krohn, USA TODAY Sports
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Lions general manager Brad Holmes has had a busy offseason beefing up the team's roster. He's made a variety of moves on both sides of the ball, especially in the defensive backfield, and has seemingly put Detroit in position to compete for a Super Bowl in 2024.

After all his spending this offseason, the Lions presently have around $40 million in cap space, according to Over The Cap.

Let's take a look now at five players whose contractual situations make them “bargains” for the Lions headed into 2024.

Note: Players in the first and second year of their rookie deals have been excluded from this list.

1.) DT Alim McNeill

2024 cap hit: $3,388,578 

I'll gladly include McNeill on the Lions’ “bargains” list for a second straight season.

The interior defensive lineman had a breakout season in 2023, and recorded a career-best five sacks (the second-highest total on Detroit in ‘23). And this all came without McNeill having a reliable running mate along the interior of the line. 

Equipped now with veteran nose tackle DJ Reader alongside him, the sky's the limit for McNeill this upcoming season. 

And, with a reasonable cap hit of $3,388,579 headed into 2024, the big man deserves inclusion on this list. 

2.) OL Graham Glasgow 

2024 cap hit: $2,687,500

Glasgow, whom the Lions re-signed to a three-year, $20 million deal this offseason, was a sneaky-good acquisition by general manager Brad Holmes last offseason. 

In 2023, the veteran lineman was an adept plug-and-play piece along the interior of the offensive line, logging snaps at center and both guard spots. Most notably, he replaced the oft-injured Halapoulivaati Vaitai as Detroit's full-time starter at right guard, and stabilized the position. 

In 1,061 total offensive snaps, he permitted just two sacks, and excelled in creating holes for the Lions’ backfield duo of Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery. For his run-blocking efforts, he received a 82.1 grade from Pro Football Focus. Additionally, he received an overall mark of 75.1 from the popular analytics site.

The Lions are lucky to have Glasgow back for the 2024 season, and at a cost-effective cap hit of $2,875,000.

3.) WR Donovan Peoples-Jones 

2024 cap hit: $1,300,000

Peoples-Jones isn't on this list for having produced gaudy stats a season ago. He accounted for just 13 receptions and 155 yards in 15 total games with the Browns and the Lions a season ago.

Instead, I've included him as a “bargain” due to the fact that he has the inside track to be Detroit's No. 3 receiver in 2024. 

Additionally, he's produced much bigger campaigns in seasons past, including a 61-catch, 839-yard receiving season just two years ago in Cleveland. 

And, at an inexpensive cap hit of $1.3M, the 25-year-old will easily be a “bargain” on Detroit's 2024 53-man roster.  

4.) S Kerby Joseph

2024 cap hit: $1,375,883

Joseph has been nothing but a playmaker through his first two seasons in the league. 

He accounted for four interceptions in both 2022 and 2023, making a name for himself as an opportunistic defender in the Lions’ secondary. 

And, in 2024, he'll once again play a significant role in Detroit's thin safeties room. He and Ifeatu Melifonwu are expected to form a solid one-two punch at the position.  

Additionally, with a cap hit of only $1,375,883, Joseph is definitely one of the Lions’ biggest “bargains” headed into the upcoming season.

5.) S Ifeatu Melifonwu 

2024 cap hit: $1,427,154

The emerging safety had a strong finish to last season, and will enter 2024 as one of the core members of Detroit's secondary. 

Starting in each of the Lions’ final five games of the 2023 season, Melifonwu produced 26 total tackles, including three for loss, seven passes defensed, two interceptions and three sacks.

Additionally, in each of the team's last three games, he earned no lower than a 70.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, including a career-best 89.8 mark in Detroit’s NFC North-clinching win over the Vikings in Week 16. 

For his entire body of work in 2023, he received an 85.6 overall mark from PFF, including an impressive 92.0 pass-rush grade and an 80.9 coverage grade.

With a cap hit of just $1,427,155 entering 2024, the now fourth-year defender is certainly a “bargain” for the Lions.


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Vito Chirco

VITO CHIRCO

Vito has covered the NFL and the Detroit Lions for the past five years.  Has extensive reporting history of college athletics, the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Mercy Athletics.  Chirco's work include NFL columns, analyzing potential Detroit Lions prospects coming out of college, NFL draft coverage and analysis of events occurring in the NFL.  Extensive broadcasting experience including hosting a Detroit Tigers podcast and co-hosting a Detroit Lions NFL podcast since 2019.