Lions Expand Cap Space With Quandre Diggs Trade

Quandre Diggs

Getty Quandre Diggs chats with Matt Patricia in 2018.

The Detroit Lions made a move many considered shocking in trading Quandre Diggs to the Seattle Seahawks, but in opening a gaping hole as it relates to team leadership and play, they did manage to open up plenty of cap space both now and in the future.

If there was one drawback to Diggs, he was about to get very costly for the Lions to have around after the extension the Lions doled out a year ago. After the move was made, Spotrac tweeted out just how much cash the Lions would save after trading Diggs, and it only goes up over time.

According to the site, Diggs will save them $1.6 million right away in 2019. In 2020, the Lions will save $3.4 million against the cap. By 2021, that number increases to a whopping $7.34 million dollars. Add it up and with those totals, the Lions can spread the wealth and find a few more players to perhaps fill other needs on the offense and defense. They can also re-sign some of their other free agents.

Why Detroit Traded Diggs

If reports are true regarding why the Lions ditched Diggs, it could have everything to do with what the staff perceived as a decline in play so far in 2019. What Pro Football Focus saw certainly jibes with that notion. That, combined with the emergence of young names like Tracy Walker and Will Harris at the position, created the perfect storm in terms of opportunity and motive.

With an extra $1.6 million dollars, the Lions could have freed up even more space for another addition in 2019. Detroit has needs along the defensive line and at running back, meaning they might be in a better position to address two needs thanks to the money saved by cutting Diggs.

It won’t make sense to lots of the loyal fans and players who love Diggs and his role on the team, but it seems the Lions simply liked his younger, cheaper replacements better. They also wanted to cash in on netting another draft asset, which combined with the money saved in cap space, could help the Lions in their goal of getting deeper in the future. That’s true whether the team uses the pick via a future trade for an asset, or simply keeps it and drafts another young player.

Current Cap Situation

Entering the day, Detroit had nearly $18.9 million under the cap left to spend, which ranked as one of the top 11 totals in the NFL according to a handy graphic from CBS SportsLine. Now that they made the Diggs move, that number balloons to around $20.5 million, a total which keeps them safely within the top 10. In other words, while the Lions might not have the most money going right now, they certainly have plenty of space to take on a contract or two, especially if the player was going to help the team in a couple of their biggest areas of need.

In terms of the NFC North, the Lions have the most amount to spend in the division of all the teams. That should help Bob Quinn, who has shown a willingness to make moves at the deadline before, especially last year. The Lions added Damon Harrison to the mix, and a similar move this year could be on tap with this salary cap number to Detroit’s credit.

Are the Lions a contender without Diggs? If they view the trio of Walker and Harris as up and coming and elite, the answer could still be yes, meaning they have freed up plenty of cash with which to maneuver for the next few years with one swift move.

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