Detroit Lions find salary cap relief in restructuring Jared Goff’s contract

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions have been able to tap into some salary cap relief after some recent changes to their star quarterback’s contract. Newly acquired quarterback, Jared Goff, has restructured his contract per Field Yates to provide the Lions with some much-needed relief.

What does this mean for the Detroit Lions moving forward? Ultimately it secures Goff to the roster beyond 2021, at least through 2022. However, that was likely always going to be the case.

Per Over the Cap, Detroit was sitting right around the $10 million marks in salary cap space, but the contract for new backup quarterback Tim Boyle is not currently included.

The Lions are also expected to need just under $9 million of that to sign their draft class of six players per Spotrac.  So their ability to potentially add defensive help before the draft was fairly nonexistent.

The Detroit Lions found some much-needed cap relief when Jared Goff opted to restructure his contract.

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The move drops Goff’s cap hit by $15 million this season; after the restructure, he will count $10.65 million against the cap in 2021. It will add $5 million to his cap hit in the final three years of the deal.

That five million in 2022, plus Goff’s already guaranteed $15.5 million salary, would bring his dead money to $30.5 million if Detroit were to cut him after only one season.  A trade after this season would now result in a $15 million dead cap hit in 2022.

As for the remaining three years of his deal after the restructure, he will now carry cap hits of $31.15 million in 2022, $30.65 million in 2023, and $31.65 million in 2024.

Detroit’s ability to escape the deal, either by cutting Goff, or trading him, doesn’t become logical until after the 2022 season is complete.

In 2023, Goff would carry a $10 million dead cap hit if cut or traded and a $5 million dead cap hit in 2024 if cut or traded.  His guaranteed salaries end after 2022, so the only dead cap would be from the signing bonus this restructure creates in the final two years of the deal.

This is probably sad news for all the fans who went into this season thinking Goff was only a one-year bridge to a quarterback taken at seventh overall this year.  That was never likely the plan, and he was always on a two-year audition for the Lions.  This restructure doesn’t change that.

People tend to easily forget the Lions GM Brad Holmes scouted Goff’s college days heavily and convinced Rams General Manager  Les Snead to trade up to the #1 overall pick and take Goff.  He had faith in Goff then; he still has faith in Goff today as a franchise quarterback, even if a portion of the fan base doesn’t.

Does this move affect their draft plans? Probably not, as I’ve felt they were looking at wide receivers the entire time.  In all honesty, the top 3 QB’s in this draft will probably be gone before Detroit is even on the clock.

So to take the fourth or fifth-best quarterback at seventh overall, you would have to really be sold on them.  While someone like Trey Lance would still make sense sitting behind Goff for two years, does his potential upside two years from now outweigh the talent available that could help this year?

In the end, Detroit made the decision that was best for the team.  They can now go out and look for help at their most pressing positions, linebacker, cornerback, and safety.

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While I may be looking too much into it, I don’t necessarily think it is a coincidence that this move came the day free agent Safety Damontae Kazee is scheduled to visit.