The antiquated system of paying insanely high contracts to the top draft picks has now been replaced by a system that diverts that money to veteran players.
Unfortunately for the Lions, it came a little too late to help their current cap situation. The Lions don’t have a ton of salary cap space available for 2012, in part, because of the large contracts signed by high draft picks like Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh.
There is a silver lining for the Lions, though. At least they hit a homerun with each of the aforementioned picks and those players are now the young foundation of the team.
Heading into the final year of his rookie contract, Johnson’s cap number is around $22 million next season, which is why the Lions are hoping to sign an extension this offseason to reduce that number.
“Obviously, Calvin is going into his second contract and has a much higher base than some other players would have,” said Lions general manager Martin Mayhew at the NFL Scouting Combine Friday. “It’s an ongoing effect of drafting that high. I think originally, the idea and the concept was to help teams that hadn’t performed as well by letting them pick earlier. But what ended up happening over a period of time was that it hurt teams because they were locked into those deals.”
Count the Lions as one of those teams. And they could find themselves in similar situations with Stafford and Suh in the coming years.
“The system is a lot better now and makes a lot more sense,” Mayhew said. “The money should go to the veterans and that’s how the system is set up now. I like the way it is now.”
The Lions haven’t drafted as low as they are this year (23rd) since taking Robert Porcher with the 26th pick in the 1992 draft.
Tags: Calvin Johnson, Martin Mayhew, Matthew Stafford, Ndamukong Suh
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 5 Comments »