Detroit Lions: Five Potential Salary Cap Casualties

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Detroit Lions: Five Potential Salary Cap Casualties
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

We all hate this part of the NFL.

The number squeezing that goes with reaching the agreed-upon salary cap.

The Detroit Lions are in a difficult position that was exacerbated by the old rules in the last collective bargaining agreement.

Primarily, the rookie wage scale that became otherworldly at the end of the last decade coincided with the Lions' worst stretch of football in franchise history.

As a result, the Lions were routinely picking either No. 1 or No. 2, meaning that they were forced to draft players that carried high salaries.

Luckily for Detroit, those players have panned out. Matthew Stafford, Ndamukong Suh and Calvin Johnson are studs that will likely be Detroiters for life.

But they will be making a collective $35 million or so this year. Add to that the recently franchise-tagged Cliff Avril and that number jumps to about $46 million. Finally, if you factor in bonuses owed to each of the above, you could be looking at another $10 million or so.

Considering this year's salary cap will probably be around $122 million, you are committing a huge percentage of your team salary on four players.

Sure, the Lions need those players above all else, but a competitive team needs to have talent at all levels. That is truly difficult with such a lopsided team salary structure.

Now, there are plenty of bullets in GM Martin Mayhew's arsenal of solutions.

If the Lions can re-sign Johnson to an extension, they will be able to get his salary cap hit number down and have some room to maneuver.

But that still might not be enough considering the fact that the Lions still need to consider the draft, and at least two of their picks will be relatively pricey.

On top of that, the Lions still need to re-sign left tackle Jeff Backus, middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch and a whole host of others, not to mention free-agent targets from other teams to help plug holes.

As a result, there are sure to be some salary-cap casualties.

Here are five that could be on the chopping block.

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