A closer look at the Lions' 2015 salary cap

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Which Detroit Lions players have the biggest cap hits for 2015? Who could be let go to free up cap space? Let's take a look.

Continuing our series on the Detroit Lions' salary cap, it's time to take a look at the situation for 2015. Just like last time, you can find a ranking of the Lions' biggest cap hits on the left side, and on the right side you can see a rundown of which players would provide the most cap savings if they were let go by the Lions. Check it out:


Player 2015 cap hit

Player Savings if cut
WR Calvin Johnson $20,558,000
DT Ndamukong Suh $3,505,000
QB Matthew Stafford $17,721,250
LB DeAndre Levy $3,500,000
DT Ndamukong Suh $13,242,500
LB Stephen Tulloch $3,200,000
LB Stephen Tulloch $5,800,000
DE Jason Jones $3,150,000
WR Golden Tate $5,350,000
RB Reggie Bush $2,500,000
DE Ziggy Ansah $5,071,232
S Glover Quin $1,900,000
S Glover Quin $5,050,000
S James Ihedigbo $1,625,000
LB DeAndre Levy $4,500,000
RB Joique Bell $1,500,000
RB Reggie Bush $4,500,000
OT Riley Reiff $1,480,050
DE Jason Jones $3,983,333
WR Ryan Broyles $891,614
-- Dead money $3,900,000
TE Brandon Pettigrew $800,000
TE Brandon Pettigrew $3,800,000
CB Bill Bentley $680,000
RB Joique Bell $3,500,000
LB Tahir Whitehead $660,000
TE Eric Ebron $2,783,897
CB Jonte Green $660,000
OT Riley Reiff $2,543,450
LB Travis Lewis $660,000
S James Ihedigbo $2,000,000
S Don Carey $595,000
CB Darius Slay $1,442,537
TE Joseph Fauria $585,000
WR Ryan Broyles $1,170,704
OT LaAdrian Waddle $585,000
LB Kyle Van Noy $1,159,569
WR Pat Edwards $585,000
S Don Carey $995,000
OG Rodney Austin $585,000
OG Larry Warford $849,250
DT Jimmy Saddler-McQueen $585,000
CB Bill Bentley $817,278
OT Michael Williams $568,713
LB Tahir Whitehead $713,000
RB Theo Riddick $562,250
C Travis Swanson $689,842
P Sam Martin $544,925
CB Jonte Green $684,250
S Gabe Lynn $510,666
LB Travis Lewis $674,793
OG Alex Bullard $510,332
DE Devin Taylor $660,146
C Darren Keyton $510,000
P Sam Martin $625,075
RB Steven Miller $510,000
RB Theo Riddick $607,750
WR Corey Fuller $510,000
OT Michael Williams $601,287
OT Bryce Quigley $510,000
TE Joseph Fauria $589,167
DE Kalonji Kashama $510,000
OT LaAdrian Waddle $588,334
DT Xavier Proctor $510,000
DE Larry Webster $585,146
DT Gregory Hickman $510,000
CB Nevin Lawson $585,146
TE Jordan Thompson $510,000
WR Pat Edwards $585,000
LB Brandon Hepburn $510,000
OG Rodney Austin $585,000
K Giorgio Tavecchio $510,000
DT Jimmy Saddler-McQueen $585,000
DE Devin Taylor $509,854
DT Caraun Reid $557,220
QB James Franklin $509,332
WR TJ Jones $536,550
WR Andrew Peacock $509,166
K Nate Freese $524,856
OG D.J. Morrell $509,166
OT Cornelius Lucas $516,666
OG A.J. Dalton $509,166
FB Chad Abram $512,500
LB Justin Jackson $509,166
S Jerome Couplin $512,000
TE Jacob Maxwell $509,000
CB Mohammed Seisay $511,666
CB Mohammed Seisay $508,332
TE Jacob Maxwell $511,000
S Jerome Couplin $508,000
S Gabe Lynn $510,833
FB Chad Abram $507,500
WR Andrew Peacock $510,833
OT Cornelius Lucas $503,332
OG D.J. Morrell $510,833
OG Larry Warford $500,750
OG A.J. Dalton $510,833
K Nate Freese $480,288
LB Justin Jackson $510,833
WR TJ Jones $456,900
QB James Franklin $510,666
DT Caraun Reid $415,560
OG Alex Bullard $510,166
DE Larry Webster $359,708
C Darren Keyton $510,000
CB Nevin Lawson $359,708
RB Steven Miller $510,000
CB Darius Slay $329,155
WR Corey Fuller $510,000
C Travis Swanson $235,264
OT Bryce Quigley $510,000
-- Dead money $0
DE Kalonji Kashama $510,000
WR Calvin Johnson -$416,000
DT Xavier Proctor $510,000
LB Kyle Van Noy -$965,310
DT Gregory Hickman $510,000
WR Golden Tate -$2,050,000
TE Jordan Thompson $510,000
DE Ziggy Ansah -$5,916,433
LB Brandon Hepburn $510,000
TE Eric Ebron -$7,238,131
K Giorgio Tavecchio $510,000
QB Matthew Stafford -$9,500,000

Currently, the Lions have $132,954,391 committed to the 2015 cap and 61 players under contract for next year. A lot of those players will be let go during roster cuts this summer, though, so the Lions won't actually be on the hook for that much money until they expand their roster again next offseason (at which point the top 51 rule will be in effect).

Another important thing to note about 2015 is that Ndamukong Suh is technically still under contract for next year. In reality, though, his contract will be voided after the Super Bowl, making him a free agent at the start of the 2015 league year. Thanks to dead money, he will have a cap hit of around $10 million even if he becomes a free agent and signs elsewhere, but the Lions want to make sure that scenario doesn't play out by signing him to a long-term deal.

If Suh doesn't return to Detroit, the Lions will save $3.505 million in cap space for 2015. That's not worth losing your best defensive player, though, especially with all of that dead money already on the books. That's why they will make every effort to re-sign Suh, and chances are they will look elsewhere if they need to create cap space. Releasing Jason Jones, for example, would free up $3.15 million in cap space, and the Lions could save $2.5 million by parting ways with Reggie Bush. Letting Bush go after only two seasons doesn't necessarily seem likely, but then again, things change quickly in the NFL.

On the left side of the table, Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford are set to have the biggest cap hits for the Lions in 2015. This will be the case again in 2016 and 2017, when Johnson and Stafford will both have cap hits of more than $20 million. That's a discussion for another day, though, as we will take a look at the Lions' salary cap situation for 2016 and 2017 later in the week. For now, what stands out to you about 2015?

(Once again, special thanks to the Free Press, Spotrac, Over the Cap and the NFLPA. I couldn't have assembled these numbers without the great resources provided by those four sites.)

Previously: General overview, 2014

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