The Detroit Lions have gotten a bit creative with one of their biggest cap hits and it’s given them some flexibility for 2020.
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Lions moved around money in order to clear cap space for next season. They converted Matthew Stafford’s roster bonus to a signing bonus in order to make that happen.
Before the move, Detroit was projected to have over $42 million in cap space for 2020. This move would effectively push that number forward closer to $47 million. That’s significant given the fact the team has a major deal coming with standout wide receiver Kenny Golladay, in addition to having some shopping to do for depth across the roster this offseason.
The Lions could be expected to make more moves this offseason to push that eventual total even higher. Every extra cent will help heading toward a vital 2020 season on the field.
Lions Biggest 2020 Free Agency Need is Defense
Detroit cannot pressure the quarterback meaningfully in 2019, and have struggled stopping the pass as well, something that has been painfully obvious for weeks and that is a glaring problem given what the team has done in the last few offseason periods. Part of the problem has been injury, but beyond Trey Flowers and Da’Shawn Hand, the Lions simply don’t have any young building blocks they can count on right now. The team has to find some form of consistency in the trenches, and that is why it’s a major need for them moving forward.
If free agency were to begin today, the Lions would undoubtably have to look at the defensive line and the backfield for potential upgrades, with another eye at linebacker. Having some extra money could help the team make some key additions there, and patch some of their other depth holes on the offensive side.
Matthew Stafford’s Statistical Resurgence
Stafford, re-invigorated by Darrell Bevell’s offense this season, has had a confidence and a swagger about him unlike ever seen before. He’s playing under control and making every single throw on the field. The stats tell the tale of a player who is enjoying a career resurgence in every sense of the word, and remaining amongst one of the most valuable players in the game as a result.
This season, prior to injury, Stafford had thrown 19 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions and has thrown for 2,499 yards, which was one of the higher totals in the league. His touchdown total is also amongst the league’s elite as well. While Stafford doesn’t have a “big win” to his credit this season, you’d be hard pressed to find someone more valuable to his team completely.
Simply, without Stafford, the Lions have evolved into one of the worst teams in the league. That’s usually the case when he is missing, but it looks to be even more the case this season. He saved the Lions with his ability to make plenty of throws, and has been the reason the team has been in position to win most of the games they have played thus far. Without Stafford, the Lions have fallen apart, which only shows the true value he brings to the franchise.
A Motivated Matthew Stafford Huge in 2020
Perhaps the most exciting thing about Stafford’s near future other than an offense he was excelling in is a killer mindset. When Stafford does return, he will be out to prove that he is healthy and ready to embark on a dominant season.
In the past, Stafford’s mindset has been one of the best in the league. When he’s on, there are few better than Stafford at playing with an edge and playing with fire. He’s going to come back stronger mentally after the injury and could be more motivated than ever in order to have a great season.
Stafford will still be making plenty of money, but the team will now have a bit more financial freedom to address some needs that could help them become better with their quarterback.
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