There has been a lot of speculation among PODers and Draft Gurus around the NFL that the Lions recent moves in free agency will cause them to skip a Defensive Tackle, Suh or McCoy, at # 2 because of how much the Lions will have invested in the D Line. I decided to check that theory out by using the 2009 salaries from USA Today.
I then compared the Lions investment with a few other teams and the overall salary of the Lions team. The results may surprise you. [More after the Jump]
I looked at other 4-3 teams as I thought that would be the best comparison to the Lions. I did not look at all the other 4-3 teams but I did look at ten other teams; Rams, Giants, Eagles, Bengals, Falcons, Colts, Vikings, Raiders, Saints, and Bears pre- Julius Peppers.
For the Lions I counted ten D lineman [ I cut DeWayne White as I don't see him and his $3.4M salary with a place on this team] and got a total of $15M. For about 15% of the total payroll.
Here are the comparisons:
Rams - $14.5M for twelve linemen for 14.5% of the payroll.
Giants - $28M [YOW!] for nine players and 20.3% of the payroll.
Eagles - $9.6M for eight guys for 9.1% of the payroll.
Bengals - $14M for nine linemen for 14.9% of the total pay.
Falcons - $14M for eight linemen for 14.7% of the payroll.
Colts - $18.5M for ten players for 17.9%.
Vikings - $19.2M for nine guys for 19.2% of the payroll.
Raiders - $21.4M for eight linemen for 19.2% of their total pay.
Saints - $19.5M for eight players for 16% of the payroll.
Bears - $23.5M [Without Julius the Great!] for eleven players for 19.5% of their payroll.
Averages Pay = $17.9M for 16.4% of the payroll.
Now I have to admit that I played with the numbers a bit as some players had their entire bonus stuck on their 2009 pay. I factored those down to the CAP salary figure. Outside of the Eagles, the Lions are at the low end of the D Line payroll right now and in my mind have a lot of room to add more salary at this position. So the belief that the Lions are already "over invested" in the D Line is not true in my opinion. Adding a star DT like Suh or McCoy could turn this unit into an elite one.
Basically you get what you pay for. If the Lions put a lot of money towards this unit, I think they [and we Lions fans] would expect better results. I like the idea of a very good D Line which will shut down the run and put some pressure on the QB.