Lions view the salary cap as fluid


The Lions entered the offseason only $3 million under the salary cap, but that wasn’t necessarily a significant concern.

Lions President Tom Lewand says the amount of cap space a team has at any given time is less relevant than how flexible the team is able to be in re-tooling its roster. For instance, the Lions released Titus Young, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Stephen Peterman to save $8.5 million toward the cap, and they believe they have other players under contract who can renegotiate to free up money under this year’s cap if needed.

The cap is fluid,” Lewand told “I’ve used the analogy before that anybody who tells you how much cap room you have is looking at a still from a movie and it doesn’t tell you much about the movie.”

Lewand says he doesn’t have a particular number in mind when it comes to how much he wants to be under the cap. Instead, he just wants to feel like the Lions can make the moves they need to make.

“The optimal range is dependent on the opportunities that exist, not just on the cap space available,” Lewand said. “You’ve got to look at what possible methods of player acquisition are in front of you, what players are available to be acquired, how they fit your system, all of the different things that are involved in the complexity of the system and marry that up to what your available cap room is.”

The Lions were hamstrung by having either the first or second pick in the NFL draft for three consecutive years — the last three years before rookie salaries were finally reined in. That meant Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh were all a big drag on their cap situation.

But the good news is that after years of bad drafting, the Lions have actually gotten production out of those high draft picks. And the Lions got some short-term cap relief by doing a long-term deal with Johnson last year, and they may do the same with Stafford this year. So the Lions think they’re in fine shape, despite entering the year without a lot of cap space.

11 responses to “Lions view the salary cap as fluid

  1. Yeah it is a fluid, a fluid mess. The Lions have squandered over $100MM every year to fail in miserable fashion. These guys need to develop a different set of analogies in order to figure out a new way to manage this team for the future. One that works and produces results!!

    I’m talking about winning folks, and championships, and heck we can’t even get into the playoffs let alone dominate in the playoffs. There’s nothing in sports more frustrating than being a fan of the Lions and being shortchanged every year.

  2. Gotta agree. They have at this point zero DE on the roster, 2 safties that are #4/5 caliber guys for ST, no CB that have any ability to be anything but an acceptable #2 at best (if they improve), both OLB are FAs, as are both of the rotation DTs behind Suh and Fairley, who in their own right are starters on 50% of the teams in the league. They have their #2 and 3 WR coming off of knee and leg injuries, the 2 starters on the right side of the OL are gone, and all 3 ST players are FA, including Jason Hanson. Oh, and no KR or speed back. To solve this they have 7 draft picks and $10m in cap space (plus restructures and cuts that may free up 10-17m more) less money to pay the rookies…

    Rotten job by the FO and the coaching staff…and the team on the field last year. I hope Old Man Ford gave them a playoff or cleaning house ultimatum this offseason…but knowing him he started drawing up 5 year extensions to be handed out mid year when they are 3-5….

  3. They were 3mil OVER the cap not under. They are now 5 mil under. Plus they have lots of young talent that will get a chance to shine. A real Lions fan would know that.

  4. weaselpuppy says:
    Feb 12, 2013 6:15 PM

    blah blah, blah

    Name me three teams that either Suh or Fairley wouldn’t start

    The DE’s are easily replaceable, Delmas is a very good player when healthy, Peterman was garbage, Sammy Hill will be resigned unless he gets an offer the Lions won’t match. Cherilus’ replacement is already on the roster. In short I’m saying not only will they have enough picks/free agent aquisition/retainment to field a team that should be heads and shoulders better than the 2012 version, but also your assessment shows how little you know about the team and probably football in general.

  5. lionsdraftguy February 12, 2013, 8:44 PM EST

    “You’re looking at the most real lions fan right here.”

    Ouch, how embaressing to admit!

  6. I see everyone thinks the Lions took one step forward and two steps back. They just signed Bush, Houston, Jones, and Quin today and I think that’s a pretty good day of filling some holes. It opens up the draft to fit the best player available and need, so now if they draft Millner we have two pretty good cover guys instead of one, and have plenty of picks left to help the offensive line and even money left to sign another corner or a center.

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