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3 Detroit Lions Players Who Could Become Cap Casualties

3 Detroit Lions Players Who Could Become Cap Casualties

As the dust settles on Super Bowl LVIII, NFL teams are pivoting towards the offseason with an eye on their financials and rosters for the 2024 season. The Detroit Lions find themselves in a relatively comfortable position with an estimated $61 million in cap space, ranking seventh among NFL teams according to Spotrac, while OverTheCap’s projection of $45.2 million in effective cap space—accounting for at least 51 roster spots and the upcoming rookie class—suggests the Lions have some maneuvering to do.

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Despite this seemingly favorable financial situation, the Detroit Lions could opt to increase their cap space by approximately $12 million through the release of three specific players. This strategy underscores the harsh realities of the NFL’s salary cap management, where even key contributors can find themselves on the chopping block. Here are three players who could become cap casualties.

Tracy Walker: Safety Measures

Tracy Walker, entering the final year of a three-year deal signed in 2022, is one such player under scrutiny. Walker’s $12.8 million cap hit for 2024 is a figure the Lions might deem too steep, especially considering he was a healthy scratch during the Lions playoff games. Cutting Walker would free up $5.5 million in cap space, offering some financial relief as they build for the future.

John Cominsky: Defensive Line Decisions

John Cominsky is another player who could find his tenure with the Lions at risk. With a $6.2 million cap hit on the horizon for 2024, the defensive lineman’s performance last season—characterized by a decline in production—might not justify the financial commitment. Releasing Cominsky could provide the Lions with an additional $4.6 million in cap space, potentially redirecting resources to areas of greater need.

Levi Onwuzurike: Tackling the Future

Levi Onwuzurike, the former second-round pick entering the final year of his rookie contract, carries a cap figure of nearly $2.6 million. After missing the entire 2022 season due to a back injury and playing a limited role in the following year, the Lions could consider his release a financially prudent move. Doing so would net almost $1.8 million in savings, despite Onwuzurike showing flashes of pass-rush potential last season.

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TL;DR (too long didn’t read)

  1. Cap Space Optimization: The Detroit Lions are positioned to potentially increase their cap space by $12 million by releasing Tracy Walker, John Cominsky, and Levi Onwuzurike, allowing for strategic financial maneuvering ahead of the 2024 season.
  2. Evaluating Contributions vs. Cost: Each player, from Walker’s high cap hit and postseason inactivity to Cominsky’s performance dip and Onwuzurike’s limited play post-injury, presents a case where their cost may outweigh their contributions to the team.
  3. Strategic Roster Management: These potential moves highlight the Detroit Lions’ need to balance roster talent with salary cap realities, ensuring that financial resources are allocated efficiently to build a competitive team for the upcoming season.

Bottom Line

The NFL offseason is a time of tough decisions and financial calculus. For the Detroit Lions, the potential releases of Tracy Walker, John Cominsky, and Levi Onwuzurike represent the difficult balance between performance, potential, and cost. As the team looks to optimize its roster and cap space, these decisions will be crucial in shaping their strategy for the 2024 season and beyond.

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