Lions Encouraged to Consider Snagging $97 Million CB From Cap-Restricted Team

Dan Campbell Marshon Lattimore

Getty ESPN's Aaron Schatz named the Detroit Lions as a team that could take advantage of the New Orleans Saints cap situation and acquire cornerback Marshon Lattimore in a trade.

The NFL announced a historic jump for the league’s salary cap for the 2024 season on February 23. However, the New Orleans Saints will still be in a dire cap situation. ESPN’s Aaron Schatz argued that the Detroit Lions could take advantage of New Orleans’ dire straits and perhaps trade for 4-time Pro Bowl cornerback Marshon Lattimore.

The Lions were one of three teams that Schatz suggested could be interested in a trade for Lattimore this offseason.

“Once again, there will need to be a series of cuts and restructures to make it just so the Saints can sign their rookie draft class,” Schatz wrote. “One controversial way to get some space might be to move cornerback Lattimore to another team.”

Lattimore is set to have a $14.6 million cap hit for the 2024 season. His cap hit would also be even higher for the 2025 and 2026 seasons.

However, Lattimore could potentially be cheaper than that for his acquiring team. The Lions and Saints would have to work out the exact financials of the deal.

Prior to the 2021 season, the Saints signed Lattimore to a 5-year, $97.6 million extension. He has spent his entire seven-year NFL career in New Orleans.

Why Saints Could Trade Marshon Lattimore

The NFL announced the salary cap will increase by an unprecedented $30-plus million for the 2024 season. That sets the salary cap for this fall officially at $255.4 million per team.

So the Saints aren’t in quite as bad of shape as Schatz initially suggested (his article was published prior to the salary cap increase announcement). But Over the Cap reported the Saints are still more than $40 million above the salary cap.

As Schatz described it, “painful” cuts are coming to New Orleans one way or another. At least in a trade for Lattimore, the Saints could get something in return.

The Lions have an obvious need at cornerback. Lattimore is an interesting trade target because with the Saints in such a dire cap situation, perhaps the Lions could orchestrate an offer that isn’t quite market value.

New Orleans may have no choice but to accept unless the team decides to make a cut somewhere else to create cap space.

Of course, that all depends on the Lions being the only team interested in trading for Lattimore.

Over the Cap reported the Lions have $63.7 million in cap space after the NFL announced its increase.

How Lattimore Could Fit With the Lions

Lattimore joined the Saints as the No. 11 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie and won the Rookie Defensive Player of the Year Award.

In seven NFL seasons, Lattimore has posted 86 pass defenses and 15 interceptions. He’s also recorded 375 combined tackles, including 7 tackles for loss and 5 forced fumbles. Lattimore has made four Pro Bowls.

The Lions could use an outside cornerback to start opposite Cameron Sutton. Cornerbacks Kindle Vildor, Jerry Jacobs and Emmanuel Moseley will all be unrestricted free agents in March.

Detroit finished 27th in passing yards allowed and 29th in net yards yielded per pass attempt during 2023. So regardless of their cornerback free agent situation, they would likely be searching for secondary upgrades this offseason.

The concern with Lattimore, though, is his health. He has missed 17 games combined over the past two seasons because of injuries.

Last offseason, the Lions signed Moseley despite him tearing his left ACL the season prior. In 2024, Moseley played just 2 snaps before tearing his right ACL.

Lattimore’s injuries haven’t been as serious. But the last thing the Lions want is to bring in another cornerback, especially while giving up draft capital, who won’t be on the field.

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