The Detroit Lions opened a very little bit of cap space by restructing punter Jack Fox’s contract.
Pending the plugging in of some of their signings, the Detroit Lions are sitting pretty good in terms of cap space after the first wave of free agency. There are certainly bigger moves to clear cap space, already happened, and maybe coming, but on Monday the Lions restructured the contract of punter Jack Fox (h/t to Pride of Detroit).
Based on average annual value, the Lions made Fox the NFL’s highest-paid punter last fall. So it terms of kicking cap dollars into the future, his deal going through the 2026 season is a place to possibly do it.
Fox’s original cap number for 2023 was $3.565 million, and it’s now $1.965 million. So the Lions clear $1.6 million in cap space for this year. That’s inconsequential on its own, but taken with the earlier news of the pay cut Romeo Okwara is taking the Lions have cleared $10.5 million in cap space on Monday.
A closer at the restructure of Jack Fox’s contract
Per Over The Cap’s accounting of Fox’s restructure, he reduced his 2023 base salary by $1 million (from $2.115 million to $1.115 million) and had $1.1 million in additional 2023 bonus money bumped into a prorated signing bonus spread over the next four years in terms of the cap hit (now $850,000 per year from 2023-2026).
Fox’s remaining original cap hits were originally $3.475 million (2024), $3.2 million (2025) and $3.475 million (2026). $500,000 has been added to each of those numbers in the restructure, so we get to a total of $2 million when adding in this year’s bump in bonus. $100,00 of that $1.1 million in 2023 additional bonus money appears to be unaccounted for in the movement of money around.
The Lions created a little bit of cap space here, while Fox gets more upfront money and a bit more roster security in the future. So it works for both sides, even if $1.6 million in cap space for this year is small enough potatoes that it’s worth wondering if the creative accounting was worth it.