Dave Birkett | Detroit Free Press
The Detroit Lions have cleared enough cap space to add Jared Goff to their roster when the new league year opens next week, but they have work to do cap wise to be players in free agency.
The Lions have cleared about $12.5 million in cap room so far between cuts (both Christian Jones and the pending release of Desmond Trufant) and the restructure of linebacker Jamie Collins’ contract.
That gives them enough space under the $182.5 million salary cap to add Goff’s $25.65 million base salary and be cap compliant at the start of the league year.
The Lions also have about $15 million in cap carryover from 2020. Including Goff’s salary, they have about $196 million in cap commitments and dead money for 2021, according to OverTheCap.com.
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Had the Lions used the franchise tag on wide receiver Kenny Golladay, they would have had to clear about $15 million in additional cap space by 4 p.m. next Wednesday.
The Lions still need to clear space to sign their draft class and add any starting-caliber free agents, and have several in-house options to do that with more cuts, trades or contract restructures.
According to paperwork filed with the NFL Players Association, Collins’ restructure last week created about $4 million in cap space.
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The Lions reduced Collins’ base salary for 2021 from $8.8 million to $3.8 million, and paid him the $5 million difference as a signing bonus. By adding three voidable years to Collins’ contract, which still expires after the 2022 season, the Lions were able to lessen his cap hit to $7.33 million.
The Lions also cleared about $2.5 million in cap space by releasing Jones this week. Trufant has $3.5 million in salary guarantees for 2021, but his pending release would save about $6 million in cap room.
Contact Dave Birkett at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.