The NFL has officially announced the 2017 salary cap will be set at $167 million, giving the Detroit Lions a little more than $31 million in space.
The NFL’s new league year begins next week, opening the annual free agent frenzy. Just how much teams have to spend is dependent on where the salary cap is set for that year. Recent estimates had the 2017 NFL salary cap at between $166 million and $169 million, and the final number comes within those bounds at $167 million.
Based on their team cap number, current commitments and dead money, the Lions sit with more than $31 million in cap space. That gives them enough space to be active participants in the free agent market if they choose, but no one should expect them to try to make a Miami Dolphins-like splash.
$31 million may sound like a lot considering the Lions have spent most of their recent history up against the cap, but it ranks middle of the pack. That means their actual buying power on the market will be only average.
Look for a free agency period similar to last year where the Lions had a specific target or two (like Marvin Jones) before turning their attention to value deals after the initial wave has passed.