Cap, exodus and Harold: Reasons to believe in Lions’ class of 2019

Life as a Detroit Lions fan can often be frustrating, unrewarding and, occasionally, just plain pointless. A failure to improve on the 9-7 season the Lions enjoyed in 2017 represents a step back – on paper. However, with a reported $41m available on new talent in the offseason of 2019 due to the salary cap that is soon to be raised, the situation could be about to improve drastically over in the Lions’ den.

Although that sum is only around the average expected across the whole NFL franchise, the projected rise of over $3m in the salary cap will mark the sixth year in succession that the cap amount has increased by over 10%. In the wake of an NFL season that has seen them fail to improve on their 9-7 record of 2017, the Lions will need to be particularly wary of who they cut. Some of the leading names in that regard may raise a few eyebrows.

With a payout of $8m in 2018, offensive linesman T.J. Lang (seen below, discussing ‘offensive chemistry’) is the most prominent of them, but names like Glover Quin, Nevin Lawson and Theo Riddick have also been included amongst the projected cuts for 2019.

Should all of those players depart, the Lions could easily have an extra ballpark figure of $18m to play with. With this new degree of financial resource, the Lions are sure to enjoy some positive attention from online bettors, especially in light of relaxed legislation in the US, which has led to an ever-increasing amount of firms offering odds on the NFL, as documented by SBO. Of course, transfer speculation is rife as a result of these projected developments, and it would take an eternity to list the very many players who could only improve the Lions’ setup.

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The true ‘game changers’ will come in time, but this cap increase also boosts the Lions’ chances of retaining their peripheral talents, all of whom will see 2019 as their year of reckoning. In that respect, Eli Harold (shown discussing his Lions opportunity below) has been a name on many people’s lips for a while now, after defecting from the San Francisco 49ers in August. Injury problems to Ziggy Ansah and Devon Kennard on both flanks have provided Harold with an unprecedented – and timely – opportunity to shine. Ultimately, he has not a moment to lose if he wants to be part of a franchise set for a bounce-back after a rough year.

Though relatively inexperienced in Detroit culture, Harold is the only man who can hold a candle to Kennard right now, and with a good sack rate undulating around the 4.0 mark, his strong end to the season gives him good candidacy to augment his stay. As with any side aiming to bounce back after a season of decline, building from the back will be an important part of the recovery process. Enter Tracy Walker, who has grown in stature and confidence throughout the year.

With Walker’s best moment so far being the 43 snaps he pulled recently pulled off against the Cardinals, in a 17-3 victory, he has provided a glimpse of the future that could be about to unfold. A pay rise will be due in no time at all, but with the salary cap rise comes an opportunity to secure a significant young talent in defense.

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