We are smack dab in the middle of the NFL Playoffs, which is a fun time for some fan bases, but for the Detroit Lions and their fans, the focus is 100% on the offseason.
In order for the Lions to turn things around from their 3-12-1 finish in 2019, general manager Bob Quinn will have to make all of the right moves in free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft.
Three important decisions Quinn will have to make involve veteran players who if cut, could free up some cap space.
Those players include RT Rick Wagner, DT Damon Harrison, and EDGE Devon Kennard.
Wagner, who is 30-years-old, left much to be desired in 2019 (59.1 Pro Football Focus grade) and depending on which direction Quinn decides to go, he could end up on the outside looking in. If the Lions decide to keep him around, Wagner would count as $11.9 million against the cap, while if he is cut, he would count as $5.8 million in dead money. This could be a savings of $6.1 million.
Prediction: This is a tough one, especially considering Graham Glasgow is likely leaving town. If the Lions feel they can find a replacement for a lesser contract than what Wagner currently has, they will make a move. I will guess that does not happen and Wagner is a Lion in 2020.
Damon “Snacks” Harrison
As far as Harrison goes, we don’t even know if he will play for the Lions in 2020 as it sounds like he is considering retirement. If Harrison does decide to play out the final year on his contract, he could be a player Bob Quinn decides to cut, especially when taking into account the down year Snacks had in 2019. Harrison will be a cap hit of $11.75 million if he stays, while counting as $5 million in dead money if he is cut. This could be a savings of $6.75 million.
Prediction: One way or the other, I do not believe Harrison will be a Lion when the 2020 season rolls around.
Devon Kennard is not a superstar, but he is a solid player who seems to fit in well with what Matt Patricia is trying to do on the defensive side of the ball. The only reason Kennard is mentioned in this piece is that the Lions could save nearly $5.5 million ($5.425 million to be exact) if they were to cut him.
Prediction: If the Lions were a team will very little cap space, I could see Kennard as a potential cap casualty, but that is not the case. He is a good player and a great locker room presence who will be with the Lions in 2020.