Lions Rumors

2021 Cap Space For All 32 NFL Teams

There are still plenty of quality free agents left on the board as we look ahead to training camp. Cornerback Steven Nelson, tackle Russell Okung, and longtime Legion of Boom leader Richard Sherman headline the list, along with accomplished edge rushers like Justin Houston, Melvin Ingram, and Olivier Vernon. That list will only grow larger, of course, as more teams shed veterans to redirect their funds elsewhere.

With that in mind, here’s a look at every NFL team’s cap situation, starting with the league-leading Jaguars:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars — $32.7MM
  2. Denver Broncos — $28.9MM
  3. New York Jets — $28.5MM
  4. Cleveland Browns — $20.6MM
  5. Los Angeles Chargers — $19.9MM
  6. Detroit Lions — $17.9MM
  7. San Francisco 49ers — $17.8MM
  8. Cincinnati Bengals — $17.4MM
  9. Washington Football Team — $16.7MM
  10. Indianapolis Colts— $14.3MM
  11. Carolina Panthers— $14.3MM
  12. Minnesota Vikings — $13.5MM
  13. Pittsburgh Steelers — $13.1MM
  14. New England Patriots — $13.1MM
  15. New Orleans Saints — $11.4MM
  16. Arizona Cardinals — $11.3MM
  17. Buffalo Bills — $10.5MM
  18. Baltimore Ravens — $8.8MM
  19. Atlanta Falcons — $8.6MM
  20. Seattle Seahawks — $8.3MM
  21. Tennessee Titans — $8.3MM
  22. Kansas City Chiefs — $7.9MM
  23. Los Angeles Rams — $7MM
  24. Chicago Bears — $6MM
  25. Dallas Cowboys — $6MM
  26. Miami Dolphins — $5.3MM
  27. Green Bay Packers — $5MM
  28. Houston Texans — $5MM
  29. Las Vegas Raiders — $3.3MM
  30. Philadelphia Eagles — $3.2MM
  31. New York Giants — $2.4MM
  32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — $489K

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Anthony Lynn Originally Planned To Sit Out 2021

Often times when NFL head coaches get fired, they sit out the following season to regroup and plot their next move. Not Anthony Lynn.

Lynn moved quickly after he was let go by the Chargers, accepting a role on Dan Campbell’s inaugural Lions staff as his offensive coordinator. But apparently Lynn’s original plan was in fact to sit out the 2021 season, he revealed on a recent episode of ‘Compas on the Beat’ podcast, via Fernando Ramirez of SI.com. “I was actually going to sit this year out, but when they called, I had to go because I wanted to be a part of that. I knew it’s going to be something special,” he said.

I’ve been on the sideline since I was six years old. I have not had a break since I was six years old, literally, every single fall,” Lynn explained. “I really had my mind made up that I was going to take a gap year travel a little bit, go see some other teams, visit some of the coaches that I know, and see how they’re doing things. I had made my mind up to sit out this year, but then when Dan called, you know, that changed everything.

Not to question Lynn’s sincereness, but he did also talk to the Seahawks about their OC opening, so it appears Campbell might not have been the only coach he was willing to work for. Either way, his fondness for Campbell seems very real. Lynn was the running backs coach of the 2005 Cowboys team that Campbell played on, so there was already a connection here.

Lynn has never been a full-time OC in the league, and wasn’t the primary play-caller during his time as Chargers head coach, so it’ll be very interesting to see how things work out in Detroit. He’s got Jared Goff at his disposal for his first season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions GM: Jared Goff Not Bridge QB

While the Panthers and Broncos received more attention for passing on Justin Fields and Mac Jones with top-10 picks, the Lions also bypassed the chance to pair a first-round quarterback with a new regime. These QBs did not appear to be on Detroit’s radar.

The Lions took Penei Sewell at No. 7 and are expected to slot him their first-string right tackle, where he will protect Jared Goff. The Lions required two first-round picks and a 2021 third from the Rams to take on Goff’s contract, but their top decision-maker has concerned himself with other positions on the team’s roster. Goff has the potential to start for many years in Detroit, per GM Brad Holmes.

I never viewed him as a bridge option,” Holmes said, via Mike O’Hara of DetroitLions.com. “He’s been a winning quarterback. I think his resume speaks for itself.”

Goff is still just 26, has two Pro Bowls on his resume and started in Super Bowl LIII. However, the former No. 1 overall pick finished 22nd and 23rd in Total QBR in 2019 and ’20, respectively, and his play down the stretch last season prompted Sean McVay to favor former Alliance of American Football QB John Wolford and then greenlight a splashy trade for Matthew Stafford.

The Lions also lack the proven weapons Goff enjoyed as a Ram, having signed Breshad Perriman and Tyrell Williams. The latter missed all of last season due to injury, and the Lions did not draft a receiver in the first three rounds. Goff will also transition from McVay to Lions OC Anthony Lynn, who has not called plays in a few years. Detroit should have an upper-echelon offensive line set to block for its new passer, however, which could help him bounce back.

Holmes and Dan Campbell have started a rebuild, and the team holds two first-round picks in 2022 and ’23. Despite Holmes having played a key role in the Rams acquiring Goff via 2016 trade-up, when Holmes worked as the team’s college scouting director, Goff struggling in 2021 will likely put the Lions on the radar for the top QBs in the 2022 draft. But Goff steering this ship for two seasons should also be considered an option; moving his contract will not create any notable cap savings until 2023. Goff is signed through 2024, carrying $30MM-plus cap numbers in each of those years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Holmes Keeps Several Quinn-Era Execs

  • Although the Lions hired a new GM (Brad Holmes), several Bob Quinn-era staffers will remain going forward. Holmes will keep Lance Newmark (player personnel director), Dave Sears (college scouting director) and Rob Lohman (pro scouting director) on staff, with select other scouts from Quinn’s regime remaining in place, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Newmark turned down an offer to join Scott Fitterer‘s Panthers front office, per Birkett. Both Newmark, who has been with the Lions for nearly 25 years, and Lohman, who joined the Lions in 2007, interviewed for the Lions’ GM job that went to Holmes.
  • Holmes did hire some new personnel. Former Panthers and Texans exec Mike Martin will join the Lions as director of scouting advancement, while ex-Miami Hurricanes football ops director Don Corzine is now in Detroit as a senior advisor. These two join John Dorsey and assistant GM Ray Agnew as key new arrivals under Holmes.

Lions Sign WR Chad Hansen

The Lions have signed Chad Hansen, per a club announcement. Terms of the deal are not yet known, but it’s likely a one-year, low-cost deal for the wide receiver. 

Originally a Jets fourth-round pick, Hansen did not see live action in 2018 or ’19. However, the Texans turned to him late last season, doing so after the team’s original receiver quartet — Will Fuller, Kenny Stills, Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb — became unavailable due to either injuries, a suspension (Fuller), or a release (Stills). Hansen caught 17 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown in five Houston contests (two starts) last year. In between the Jets and Texans, Hansen also spent some time with the Patriots, Titans, Broncos, and Saints.

To make room on the roster, the Lions have waived wide receiver Jonathan Adams.

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NFL Draft Pick Signings: 6/17/21

Here are the latest mid-round rookie signings from around the NFL:

Atlanta Falcons

Detroit Lions

Lions Sign Levi Onwuzurike

The Lions have another draft pick in the fold. On Thursday, they formally signed second-round defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike.

Onwuzurike, a Washington product, opted out of the 2020 season and spent the year preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-3, 288-pound lineman earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2019, and finished his Huskies career with 95 tackles and seven sacks.

The 6’3″, 293-pound lineman played defensive tackle with the Huskies. However, he’ll be slotted in as a defensive end that moves inside on clear passing downs, according to defensive line coach Todd Wash. As the No. 41 overall pick, Onwuzurike will earn $8.14MM across four years, including a signing bonus of $3.2MM.

With Onwuzurike signed, the Lions have just a couple of draft picks to go. Here’s the full rundown of their 2021 draft class:

Round 1: No. 7 Penei Sewell, OT (Oregon) (signed)
Round 2: No. 41 Levi Onwuzurike, DT (Washington) (signed)
Round 3: No. 72 Alim McNeill, DT (North Carolina State) (signed)
Round 3: No. 101 (from Rams) Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB (Syracuse)
Round 4: No. 112 Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR (USC)
Round 4: No. 113 (from Panthers through Browns) Derrick Barnes, LB (Purdue)
Round 7: No. 257 Jermar Jefferson, RB (Oregon State) (signed)

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Lions Sign LB Reggie Gilbert

Reggie Gilbert will have a chance to return to a regular-season role soon. The Lions signed the veteran pass rusher, according to the team.

A knee injury during Titans training camp last year sidetracked his run with the team, and a waived/injured transaction took place soon after. Gilbert caught on with the Cardinals and Jaguars but did not play in a game with either team.

The Titans traded for Gilbert just ahead of the 2019 season and used him as a spot starter that year. The outside linebacker played a role for a Titans team hurting for edge presences opposite Harold Landry, starting in five games. He recorded 2.5 sacks in 16 games with the Packers in 2018, working as a backup with the NFC North squad from 2017-18. Green Bay loaded up on outside ‘backers in the 2019 offseason, however, and sent Gilbert elsewhere.

Detroit re-signed Romeo Okwara in free agency this year but went most of last season without Trey Flowers on the field. Flowers is set to return, and the Lions have 2020 third-round pick Julian Okwara in the mix as well. The Lions are moving to a 3-4 defense this year; Gilbert’s game action has come exclusively for teams who have used that scheme. The 28-year-old defender will now vie for a Detroit depth role.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/4/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Waived: QB Kenji Bahar

Detroit Lions

Las Vegas Raiders

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.