Lions Cap Space: An Updated Total Ahead of 2022 NFL Free Agency

Brad Holmes

Getty Brad Holmes speaking during the 2022 NFL combine.

With NFL free agency starting to get underway next week, everyone’s thoughts are beginning to lead to how much money the Detroit Lions will have to spend and what potential fixes could look like.

There’s been some major changes in the last few days which could impact the team’s bottom line in a big way, namely, the impending release of defensive lineman Trey Flowers and the re-signing of wideout Josh Reynolds. With that move, combined with a few signings, the team’s cap situation remains in-flux as the spending is set to begin.

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So where are the Lions at now? Ahead of the start of free agency, Justin Rogers of the Detroit News provided a quick look, and explained that there’s a bit of cash for Detroit to spend in order to find their fixes.

“Factoring in cap carryover, adjustments, estimated holds for the five top-100 draft picks and an conservatively estimated $3.5 million hit for Reynolds, the Lions should enter free agency with around $22.5M in cap space. Of course, some of that will be saved in a rainy-day fund,” Rogers tweeted.

With that amount of money, the Lions will be able to check off their needs very effectively. They may be able to make key additions to the defense while also adding a weapon for the offense at wide receiver. That’s the outlook the team should be taking overall heading into the free agency period.

Legal tampering opens on Monday, March 14, which means there will be plenty of deals revealed ahead of the start of the new league year on Wednesday, March 16. With this number in mind, expect the Lions to figure strongly into the market.

Lions’ 2022 Free Agency Primer

What will the Lions need to do with the extra? For starters, the team will have to think about adding some offensive weapons to the mix. Detroit’s wideout group has lagged behind because of a lack of depth most of all in 2021, so making sure a top-flight wideout comes into the mix via trade or signing to help Jared Goff might be the top priority for the team. So far, rumors hold the Lions could be set to spend on that fix. From there, the Lions need to think about bolstering the defense. Help could be needed up front and on the back end and potentially at linebacker as well. Potentially, Bobby Wagner could be in play.

In his first offseason, Lions general manager Brad Holmes shied away from big deals, focusing instead on smaller deals to help supplement his roster. Several of those deals have panned out, from names like Kalif Raymond to Charles Harris. The same approach could be expected in spots offseason, so the Lions might make a few bigger splashes while choosing to focus on multiple other smaller splashes to help supplement things.

Lions’ 2022 NFL Draft Primer

As expected, Detroit will continue to use the draft as the big way to build their roster, and the cap space collected will help them to sign their class. There’s a multitude of ways they could elect to go with the second-overall pick given the unique needs of the roster. The team’s defense needs playmakers up front to rush the passer along the defensive line, and could also need depth on the back end at cornerback. Offensively, the Lions have a major need for a big time pass catching wideout to help their down field attack on offense. As always, quarterback is going to be a position to watch near the top of the draft, especially considering the early struggles of Goff with the Lions in 2021.

The good news for Detroit? They also have the first-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams by virtue of the Matthew Stafford trade for this year and next year, and figure to gain multiple compensatory selections for 2022 so some serious building can occur for the roster if the team manages to secure the top overall pick. Obviously, there is no shortage of needs for the team to ponder with all of their selections next year.

Some of those needs could be met in free agency first, so the fact that the Lions have around $22 million to spend puts them in solid position.

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