As other NFL teams eye some tough decisions to get into better salary cap position, these 5 potential cap casualties should be of particular interest to the Detroit Lions.
Fortunately for teams like the Lions, plenty of other NFL teams are in a tougher spot. Some are well over the now officially announced cap ceiling for 2023, with lots of work to do and some tough decisions to make on who to cut, keep, restructure, ask to take a pay cut, etc. It’s not so much an “another man’s trash is another man’s treasure” thing, as much as it is a “Team A can’t reasonably keep this guy, so Team B, C, D can benefit”.
As hinted at, the Lions will have some of their own cap casualties that other teams may pounce on if/when they are let go. But that is part of the business, and a risk every team takes as they do their cap maneuvering every year.
With free agency a little over a month away now, the Lions should be keeping an eye out for these five potential cap casualties in particular.
5 potential cap casualties the Detroit Lions should be in on
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers OG Shaq Mason
The Bucccaneers, to say nothing of having to replace Tom Brady, are in salary cap hell ($55 million over). Mason was one of the additions made in win-now mode when Brady was the quarterback, acquired from the Patriots for a fifth-round pick last offseason.
Mason has a $9.57 million cap hit this year, the final year of deal before void year that spread out the impact of his signing bonus. A post-June 1 cut designation would wipe almost all of that from the books ($8.5 million). Even before June 1, $5.27 million in cap savings could be enticing for Tampa Bay.
The Lions had issues at right guard this year, as there was a revolving door at the position outside of when Evan Brown stepped in. Halapoulivaati Vatai missed the whole season with a back injury, and he’s a potential cap casualty.
Brown is a free agent who may be hard to keep, so a pivot has to be on the radar. If Mason is available upon being a Buccaneers’ cap casualty, and their circumstance puts them there, the Lions should be among his suitors.