When the Detroit Lions re-signed center Dominic Raiola to a one-year deal last week, we knew that he was going to get a raise. After dropping his base salary from $4.05 million to $1 million in 2013 in order to stay with the Lions, Raiola was due for a bump in pay after being ranked as the No. 2 center in the NFL on Pro Football Focus.
Raiola did in fact get a raise, according to Dave Birkett. Raiola's new deal calls for him to make $1.25 million in base salary, and it also includes a $250,000 signing bonus. In total, Raiola is set to make $1.5 million in 2014.
I'm honestly a bit surprised Raiola didn't get an even bigger raise. Yes, he's 35 years old and entering his 14th season in the NFL, but there was talk last week that he was going to get a "significant" raise. A $500,000 increase is notable, but after having such a great season, a $1.5 million contract seems like a pretty good deal for the Lions.
With the Lions cutting loose Nate Burleson and Louis Delmas on Thursday, they freed up $11.5 million in cap space. With Raiola's $1.5 million deal factored in, the Lions have around $123-124 million committed to the 2014 salary cap right now. The cap was originally projected to be raised to $126.3 million for 2014, but that number is actually expected to be a bit higher.
In other words, the Lions still have a pretty limited amount of cap room to work with, but they are in a much better position now than they were before Thursday's moves. What's more, with Raiola's deal coming in at only $1.5 million, they didn't have to spend a ton of money to retain their starting center, so that's pretty good news.