According to Eric Schlitt over at Lionswire.com, this is where the Lions cap space is. He estimated what the cap hits would be for Desmond Trufant, Danny Shelton, and Jayron Kearse, and including Slay’s departure. He says:
At this stage, the Lions have roughly $32.2 million in salary-cap space.
While that number is the actual salary cap space, there are other factors teams take into consideration, like anticipated rookie money and keeping an in-season cushion for spending throughout the year.
The Lions estimated rookie pool is estimated to cost just over $12.7 million, but because of the NFL’s top-51 rule, only about $11.1 million actually counts against this season’s cap at this time.
That brings the workable salary cap availability to about $22.1 million.
Different general managers allow varying levels of funds for in-season moves. Lions general manager Bob Quinn has kept between $7 and $17 million in previous seasons. For this exercise, I am allowing $10 million in cushion.
That leaves the Lions with just over $12.1 million in available salary.
$12.1 million may not seem like a lot but when you look at the numbers below and see how frontloaded contracts create more room — and keep in mind I am being conservative with a few numbers — there is room to sign more players in this free agency period.
IOW, without the Slay trade, the Lions would have been done signing FAs, except for the guys at or close to the minimum salary. They gotta sign a punter, I know that. And I think they need an RB, another DT, and an RG. Oh, and another CB. The good news is that they’ve got what, 9 picks? Maybe 10 or 11 if they trade down? I can see them drafting a starting CB with their 1st pick, maybe a DT with their 2nd, and an RB with their 3rd. Still leaves the RG, plus a WR and whatever else they want. Maybe even that punter.