A closer look at the Lions' 2016 salary cap

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Which Detroit Lions players have the biggest cap hits for 2016? Who could be let go to free up cap space? Let's take a look.

For 2016, the Detroit Lions have 40 players under contract and $109,398,641 committed to the salary cap. That may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that many of the players currently under contract for 2016 are undrafted free agents who signed earlier this year. Also keep in mind that many of these players likely won't even make it beyond the final round of roster cuts this summer, so quite a few contracts for 2016 will come off the books in the coming months.

Here's the full rundown for 2016:

Player 2016 cap hit Player Savings if cut
WR Calvin Johnson $24,008,000 QB Matthew Stafford $11,500,000
QB Matthew Stafford $22,500,000 WR Calvin Johnson $11,092,000
LB Stephen Tulloch $7,300,000 LB Stephen Tulloch $6,000,000
WR Golden Tate $6,350,000 RB Reggie Bush $4,000,000
DE Ziggy Ansah $5,916,439 S Glover Quin $3,700,000
S Glover Quin $5,800,000 TE Brandon Pettigrew $2,650,000
RB Reggie Bush $5,000,000 RB Joique Bell $2,000,000
TE Brandon Pettigrew $4,650,000 WR Golden Tate $1,550,000
TE Eric Ebron $3,340,676 CB Darius Slay $1,126,269
RB Joique Bell $3,000,000 S Don Carey $810,000
CB Darius Slay $1,682,960 OG Larry Warford $758,000
LB Kyle Van Noy $1,391,483 DE Devin Taylor $675,000
S Don Carey $1,010,000 P Sam Martin $675,000
OG Larry Warford $932,250 RB Theo Riddick $675,000
C Travis Swanson $804,815 OT Michael Williams $675,000
DE Devin Taylor $750,146 OT Cornelius Lucas $600,000
P Sam Martin $715,075 FB Chad Abram $600,000
RB Theo Riddick $697,750 S Jerome Couplin $600,000
OT Michael Williams $691,287 CB Mohammed Seisay $600,000
DE Larry Webster $675,146 TE Jacob Maxwell $600,000
CB Nevin Lawson $675,146 WR Andrew Peacock $600,000
DT Caraun Reid $647,220 OG D.J. Morrell $600,000
WR TJ Jones $626,550 OG A.J. Dalton $600,000
K Nate Freese $614,856 LB Justin Jackson $600,000
OT Cornelius Lucas $606,668 S Gabe Lynn $600,000
FB Chad Abram $602,500 QB James Franklin $600,000
S Jerome Couplin $602,000 OG Alex Bullard $600,000
CB Mohammed Seisay $601,668 TE Jordan Thompson $600,000
TE Jacob Maxwell $601,000 OT Bryce Quigley $600,000
WR Andrew Peacock $600,834 DE Kalonji Kashama $600,000
OG D.J. Morrell $600,834 DT Gregory Hickman $600,000
OG A.J. Dalton $600,834 K Nate Freese $585,144
LB Justin Jackson $600,834 WR TJ Jones $573,450
S Gabe Lynn $600,834 DT Caraun Reid $552,780
QB James Franklin $600,668 DE Larry Webster $524,854
OG Alex Bullard $600,168 CB Nevin Lawson $524,854
TE Jordan Thompson $600,000 C Travis Swanson $485,132
OT Bryce Quigley $600,000 LB Kyle Van Noy $376,173
DE Kalonji Kashama $600,000 -- Dead money $0
DT Gregory Hickman $600,000 DE Ziggy Ansah $0
-- Dead money $0 TE Eric Ebron -$3,897,455

The biggest cap hits for 2016 belong to Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford. Johnson is set to have a massive $24 million cap hit, while Stafford is set to count $22.5 million against the cap. The Lions could save around $22.6 million by moving Johnson and Stafford off the roster, but that wouldn't exactly be worth losing your franchise quarterback and the game's best wide receiver.

More likely cap casualties for two years from now are guys like Stephen Tulloch, Reggie Bush, Glover Quin and Brandon Pettigrew. These are players who would free up a notable amount of cap space if let go, and it's actually conceivable that releasing them would be worthwhile by the time 2016 rolls around. That's not to say that any of these players will actually be let go, but it's certainly more likely than the Lions parting ways with Johnson or Stafford.

What stands out to you about the Lions' 2016 salary cap?

(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, 2015

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