Thursday afternoon gave some teams in the NFL some much needed news. The league will increase the salary cap for all teams to around $130 million for the 2014 season, up five percent from the $123 million salary cap in 2013. The Detroit Lions are a beneficiary of this news, just not as big as some would think.
The Lions did some of their salary cap before the news broke by releasing receiver Nate Burleson and safety Louis Delmas last week, freeing up around $11.5 million that will help the Lions get under the cap before the March 11 deadline. These moves and the previous cuts made will help the Lions get more flexibility in trying to strike a perfect balance between re-signing deserving players and finding free agents who fit the Lions’ new schemes.
GM Martin Mayhew has a busy offseason this year, but he will benefit from this cap hike. With Ndamukong Suh firing his previous agent and negotiating for a new contract with a new agency, the added cap space will help the Lions in their efforts to re-sign the stud defensive tackle and have enough room to target the free agents on their wish list.
This added cap space, along with other potential roster cuts down the line, will help Detroit match any offer for valuable running back Joique Bell and also have enough money to offer a deal to tight end Brandon Pettigrew, should he want to stay in Detroit.
While all these options can and will be explored, Mayhew’s time to shine is now. The GM is already on the hot seat after his first coach, Jim Schwartz, was fired last year, in part due to Mayhew’s bad personnel moves. The embattled GM has to get it right this year with an added boost in the Salary Cap, or else he will join Schwartz as the next man out in Detroit.