Reviewing the Detroit Lions’ roster for potential cap savings ahead of the start of the new league year, it was easy to identify potential cuts. When all was said and done, general manager Brad Holmes released all but one of the veteran players who offered $2 million or more in space.
While Desmond Trufant, Justin Coleman, Christian Jones, Chase Daniel, Jesse James, Joe Dahl and Danny Shelton were cut, defensive tackle Nick Williams survived the purge. This week, the reasoning behind that decision became clearer as paperwork filed with the league shows the defensive lineman agreed to a pay cut.
As part of the two-year, $10 million contract he signed with the Lions last offseason, Williams was set to carry a $5.7 million cap hit into 2021, with a $4.1 million base salary. Had the Lions released him, they would have been responsible for $1 million in dead money, the prorated portion of his $2 million signing bonus. That means the team could have cleared $4.7 million off the books.
Instead, Williams agreed to reduce his base salary to $1.25 million, with an additional $500,000 signing bonus. The new deal includes up to $250,000 in per-game, active roster bonuses.
Most importantly, Williams’ cap hit drops from the original $5.7 million to just under $3 million.
In addition to Williams’ numbers, a few more contract figures from Detroit’s recent additions were filed with the league:
► Defensive end Charles Harris received a fully guaranteed, one-year, $1.75 million deal that includes a $1.4 million base salary and a $350,000 signing bonus.
► Kicker Randy Bullock also signed for one year, netting a $1.3 million base salary ($550,000 guaranteed), with a $200,000 signing bonus and up to $250,000 in per-game roster bonuses. His cap hit will be $1.68 million.
► Wide receiver Breshad Perriman, another player signing for one year, gets a $2 million guaranteed salary, $250,000 signing bonus, up to $250,000 in per game roster bonuses and the potential to earn another $500,000 in performance bonuses tied to receptions and touchdowns.
Perriman’s cap hit for 2021 will be $2.44 million.
► Finally, long snapper Don Muhlbach will earn a veteran minimum $1.075 million with a $50,000 signing bonus and another $50,000 for appearing in a single game. He will count just $880,000 against the cap.