Pat Kirwan is one of my favorite national media writers. He is one of the few that I religiously read almost everything that he writes. He uses his prior experience in the NY Jets front office to provide great offseason analysis and draws on his prior coaching experience and scouting background to provide in depth analysis of draft prospects and the regular season.
Yesterday, he wrote an article, Spring cleaning NFL-style means trimming cap space, in it he addresses teams that are tight against the salary cap and confirms that the Lions are extremely tight against the cap, $668,000 under. I currently had the Lions at $990,000 under the cap, but have updated Brian Kelly's cap cost (see below) to agree with Kirwan's report. A couple of items that he addresses with the Lions, need to be expounded upon.
Kalimba Edwards - As I noted in an earlier blog entry, Edwards was designated as a June 1 release and consequently, we will receive an additional $4,000,000 of cap space on June 1, when he is officially off the books. So, yes we are tight against the cap right now, but there is relief on the horizon and Edwards cap space will be used for the bulk of the rookie draft pick costs.
Dominic Raiola - With a base salary of $3.4M and a current year cap cost of $4.4M, Raiola is a candidate to be renegotiated. However, Raiola is signed through the 2009 season and it's generally been the practice of the Lions to negotiate extension of player contracts in the final year of their contract. Raiola could be renegotiated and extended, but I think it's unlikely. I believe the Lions will address Raiola's contract near the end of this year or next year.
Calvin Johnson - Kirwan also mentions that Johnson may be a candidate for a restructure, but according to the CBA agreement, Article XVII Entering Player Pool, Section 4(i) states:
The Player Contract of a Rookie may not be renegotiated until after his Club's final game of the second NFL season following the signing of such Player Contract.
Therefore, Calvin Johnson's contract cannot be renegotiated until after the final game of this season, at the earliest.
Jason Hanson - Hanson is in the final year of his contract and is due a base salary of $1,650,000. Even at 38, Hanson likely has another 10 years left in him (if he so chooses). He is a definite candidate to be extended, with an extension reducing his 2008 salary cap cost. The odd thing, for me is . . . John Deraney. Deraney has been on the Lions roster since last May and I believe worked out mostly as a punter, even though at NC State, he served as both the teams' kicker and punter. When he went on IR last August and no injury settlement was reached (common for camp fodder that get injured), I thought that maybe Nick Harris' job was in jeopardy, but the Lions gave Harris a 5 year extension last September, so obviously Harris' job is safe. Could Hanson be a draft day trade to a Super Bowl contender on draft day? We all know how important a kicker can be in the playoffs and Hanson would be an immediate upgrade on almost any team out there. Could Deraney be in the Lions future plans at kicker? I find it hard to believe, he was a good college kicker, but far from stellar, but nonetheless, it just seems odd to me.
Brian Kelly - Initially, because financial details were not disclosed on Kelly's contract, I had to make an educated guess on what Kelly's current year cap cost might have been. Based on the information from Kirwan, I'm going to change his estimated signing bonus from $3M to $4M and his updated current year cap cost would be $2,590,053.
Current year cap status, $668,000 under the cap.