Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Lions Cap: More Cuts Coming

The Detroit Lions, as I pointed out on Tuesday, are #8 in current cap space available. However, still expect to see more cap cuts like Mike Furrey as Feb 9th (the date to release current players) passes.

As our commenters on the last piece pointed out, they are not cap cuts in the sense that room is needed to sign players. Rather, they are going to be performance/contribution cuts. Are you paying starter money to a backup? #2 WR money to a #3 wideout? One whom you already have a replacement for (Standeford) on the roster, who costs less?

NetRat has a great spreadsheet with cap numbers, as regular readers know (check out his site in the sidebar links.) This year, he has put up an easy-to read page with numbers that players will count against the 2009 cap, and how much will be saved/lost if that player is cut. Mike Furrey, for instance, will save the Lions $1,950,000. That is not insignificant savings.

NetRat highlighted a few groups in there. What I want to know is, who do you see staying and/or going taking into consideration cap impacts, and the ability to replace that individual with someone who is both an upgrade, and/or provides the same level of talent for a lower cap cost. Standeford as a #2/#3 WR versus Furrey, for instance. Not saying I don't like what Furrey has done, but the old regime was too big on overpaying under performing players and you can't do that and stay on top in this league.

I can see the Lions re-signing Moran Norris with the money gained from letting Jon Bradley go. I also see Kitna, Dan Campbell, and Mulitalo also being let go to create more cap flexibility. I also think all three could be replaced at their current performance levels with less cap dollars, freeing those cap dollars to be used on higher-impact players.

Unfortunately, the tone thus far out of Allen Park is that DanO will not be coming back. This means I think we see Stanton, Culpepper, and one newcomer duking it out to be starting QB. That doesn't mean a #1 overall, but at least one pick in that case would likely go QB unless they Lions dig into the Byron Leftwich type FA and allow a free-for-all competition. Culpepper will stick as the veteran backup through this year, I think, no matter what. After all, considering Cleo Lemon makes 3.49 Million per year, 5 mil for Culpepper, who could possibly end up your starter for a year, isn't too bad a cost to value proposition.

Nubsnobber will cry blasphemy, but I agree Lenon could be back even if the Lions stay in a 4-3 --- but not as the starting MLB. Rather, he will hopefully either be SLB, or backup SLB/MLB. As a backup, he is the kind of player teams want to have. As a starter, he is the kind of player teams want to upgrade. I'm still on the fence on that one. Actually, there are quite a few players like that on the Lions, and one of the reasons we may see more upgrades than sweeping changes right at first. Why fire backups when you can just keep them as backups and hire starters?

Mayhew better be good in this draft, or the Lions are hamstrung for a few more years...

Hanson will be re-signed, and will be with the Lions anyways since he was franchised under the old tag 2 CBA's ago, and is restricted anyways. They will make him their top extension priority this month. If you want to run a bruising, power-run long ball offense that Linehan likes, you need a reliable kicker to get points out of every drive.

Dwight Smith will also go, and they will re-work Raiola's deal to make it more cap friendly, and lock him up. That way, they have an NFL starting quality Center for now, and can upgrade when it is advantageous, rather than being forced into it. Give a new draft pick a chance to compete and develop, or pick one the 2-3 top rated interior linemen this year that are OG/C. Upgrade OG now, and then decide if they will move to C and you'll draft an OG, or draft a new C when it is finally time to replace Raioa. BOTH OG spots are much bigger problems than LT or C by far.

Also, depending on his health, I think Calhoun will be let go and a returner/change of pace back who is younger and healthier will be given a shot...

Your initial thoughts? Who do we re-sign? Who gets cut? Who can be replaced, and how (FA/Draft) and looking at what is out, is it realistic in regards to cap, likelihood, and talent level?

10 comments:

CHIEFGER139 said...

I think dan o. is a gone o.-so is mc donald-looks like stanaford and cj are the keepers and they look to the draft to get a receiver who like you said can return kicks, look for new guards on the offense and thats it other than a receiver-its the defense it looks like is the major over haul-cant wait till feb 9th when the carnage begins

Ty said...

DF79, I think you absolutely hit the nail on the head. Marinelli cut out all the 'deadwood', and replaced them with gym rats and football maniacs. We have very little starting-caliber talent--we have a lot of really quality, hardworking backups being asked to start, and lunch-bucket role players being asked to excel. In that sense, at least, Marinelli really DID "pour the foundation". If we could simply draft and sign several impact players at key spots, the team could get much better in a hurry--although keep in mind that 6-10 is "much better" than 0-16.

Peace
Ty

RIP said...

Examined NetRat's spread sheet with the 'pick slip' numbers w/o Backus and Riola, but w/ Furrey included I see a savings of $7,546,667 saved for this years budget. But also noticed $6,129,167 worth of 'dead money'. Also inquired to NetRat about Roy William's bonus from '08 being split over '09 and '10. Thought he was in his last year of his contract, so the full balance of his '08 SB would be applied this year.
From the list of 'Guys on the Roster, IR, or Practice Squad in 2008 that I expect might be back for another camp� ala signed back on the roster', I Hanson and Ervin. Ervin still has a partual guaranteed contact I believe for this year. Also Norris maybe back too for he was the only true FB on the roster.

Anonymous said...

well here would be my list of cuts based on performance vs. value. These $ apply for anyone cut before their roster or other bonuses trigger. i.e. like furrey...

Kitna 2.5M
Bradley .83M
Furrey 1.95M ( we already know this one)
Fitzsimmons 1.2M
Campbell 2.1M
Mulitalo 2.5M
Darby .45M
A. Lewis 1.2M
D. Smith 3.0M

This for a total of 15.7M in cap savings (all $ based on netrats 2009 spreadshead) for a total of 41.7M in room. You sign Hanson and a couple of others to chew up ohhh 6.5M of Cap and Viola the 35M in cap room that Lewand stated we would start out with.

just my $0.02 (not million)...lol

Matchingsilver

Mark said...

I don't see Backus or Riola going any where sorry guys but just will not happen if they got cut they would be gone on the first day of free agency. I also don't see fitz being cut. Kitna will be traded he has some value 4th or 5th round on draft day. All this is just a gut feeling.

Go Lions!!

Isphet said...

Here's what I would do, personally If I were running the Lions:

Culpepper: +5.0 mil cap saving
Calhoun +0.5
Bradley +0.8
Furrey +1.95
Dan Campbell +1.75
Dominic Raiola +4.0
Mulitalo +2.5
Alex Lewis +1.2
Dwight Smith +3.0
Brian Kelley +1.3

total savings: 22 mil.

Most of these cuts are a cost/performance ratio decision.

QB:
cut Daunte; he's most likely not a long term answer at QB.
keep Kitna for a one year stint. 2.5 mil savings for cutting kitna aint worth it.
keep Stanton to try and develop him
Draft a late round QB like a Pat White for another shot at a developable QB.

O line: draft an LT with the second 1st round pick (OT is deep this draft). Have new guy and backus on left side. McCollum isn't a huge drop off from Raiola for a fraction of the cost, in my opinion. Right side is whoever and the Goz.

RB: draft a fast guy late for a backup role/KR/PR

D: gonna be hard to fix it in one year.

D line: Avril and White are fine for now. They NEED to add bulk; like a Ron Brace or BJ Raji. Problem is, D linemen in this draft are kinda small after Raji and Brace are off the board, and the Lions are looking to bulk up the lines. Anyone left at 20 probably won't really fill the need here, but I don't think Raji or Brace are first pick caliber players. A real conundrum.

LB: They need a new MIC; Lenon is a great backup only. Maybe Lenon could be a strong side LB, as he's pretty decent against the run.

Secondary: gonna have to draft a corner in the third round and hope he is better than expected. just too many holes to fill, and you have to fix the lines first. Might be a rough year for the secondary.

Draft: Honestly, I would draft Aaron Curry first overall since he seems like such a sure thing and MLB is in my opinion the most important and difficult position on the defense. Then draft an LT, because there should be a pretty good one on the board yet at 20, and with pick 33 get the best NT left on the board that has good size, and hope for the best. Third round picks wold be a cornerback and a QB and hope your third round picks hit like the Kevin Smith pick did.

CHIEFGER139 said...

new survey on your blog
are you in favor of changing the uniforms and the logo??

DetFan1979 said...

good idea chief -- I'll do that!

great ideas all -- matchingsilver -- your list seems both realistic and likely. A Fitz level TE could easily be gotten as a FA or 6th round of the draft.

Anonymous said...

Alright, cannon ball over the bow.

Paris Hilton is OK as a backup, I don't disagree. And he'll work on special teams as well.

I also agree that the foundation has been laid and we have a base of hard-working, blue-collar guys.

QUARTERBACKS-
I am also picking up on Orlovsky (or lack of) not being a name used in quarterback conversations. I think the reason for that feeling is ONLY because of the tone of the one "Culpepper" article and the lack of an "Orlovsky" name being used. I think it was just not mentioned because the focus was on Culpepper and Linehan's previous relationship. Dante is not worth $5 million (bonus and salary) and couldn't be the starting QB. He has really lost that much. Kitna's mouth has run him onto the I.R. and probably out of town.

I truly see Orlovsky signed with Stanton back, and a free agent such as Leftwhich or Anderson brought in to compete.

Why? If Dan "O" doesn't pull it off, you still have a few guys next year that you can point to in the draft as a QB, plus you've built your defense around a few "guys". If you go for your QB this year, you've missed the big MLB stud. That is the biggest need this year (and nose tackle). The two guys out there (Curry and "son-of-Animal") will be gone by the Lions second #1. The NT then needs to be signed in free agency as there isn't a great one in the draft this year and all the good ones are light 300-315.

I will get into the draft position by position (like I did last year), but I am NOT a fan of Raji or many DT's at all.

For now, QB should be "O", Stanton, and, say, Leftwich. And I WON'T say no to Paris coming back as a backup.
-nubs

DetFan1979 said...

LOL - nice warning shot there matey. Took off a bit o what was left o me hair though!

Darn lack o depth perception is all that be preventin me from returnin fire.

I think that by the Linos not mentioning Dan O, the chances of his coming back are actaully higher than if they were talking about him. If ther eis one thing this new front office has been doing consistently is to not let ANYONE know what is going on.

Point: Everyone had Linehan all but hired in SanFran til he turned them down. Then they had him in Tampa Bay -- saw two articles definitively stating such (which were pulled later) the day he was hired by Detroit -- who wasn't even mentioned as seriously being in the running until just before his hiring was announced and he was in town signing his contract.

I like this. Unlike last year, wher emy daughter coudl put together their draft board, they are playing thigns close to the vest, and pulling off some stunning moves.

Will they keep Dan O? I don't know. Should they, in my opinion? Absolutely!! There are at least 3 QB's better than the top QB this year coming out next draft, and the Lions even if they get to 6-6 will be in position to nab one if they so choose. If Stanton and/or DanO work out -- they won't have to.

I agree with you on the DT's. Don't see one I like at all yet. Not in the first round anyways. I do see a couple OG and OG/C guys I'd likeot see them get.

I'll be doing the draft scenarios again after we get through FA again this ifseason.

Gald to hear from you Nubs!