In order to stay with the Detroit Lions, center Dominic Raiola had to take a massive pay cut earlier this offseason. His base salary went down to $1 million from $4.05 million, giving the Lions a pretty significant and much needed savings in the salary cap department.
Although this pay cut lowered Raiola's salary for 2013, he said on Wednesday that he's okay with how things worked out. In fact, he said it was "an easy decision" to take a pay cut. I'm sure part of that stemmed from the prospect of getting nothing if he became a free agent, but Raiola understood that from a business standpoint, the move made sense for the Lions. From the Free Press:
"It’s just coming to terms with me getting older," Raiola said. "The salary cap is what it was, so it really wasn’t unrealistic for anybody to say you’ve got to take a pay cut. That’s ridiculous for me at this age to be making that. So it was an easy decision."
Raiola also said that he got a message from Matthew Stafford, who texted that Raiola's always said that playing football is "never about the money." That helped Raiola realize that you "got to have a passion" for the game of football if you want to keep playing. Here's more from Raiola:
"So that’s where I am now. You can say I’m full of (expletive), but that’s just the way it is. It really isn’t. I want to be here wholeheartedly, I still want to play this game, I love this game and earn my keep, earn my position."
Raiola will have to earn his position -- his starting job at center -- by fending off Bill Nagy and Rodney Austin. The expectation is for rookie Larry Warford to win the starting job next to Raiola at right guard, so Nagy and Austin should make a push for the starting center job. If Raiola is able to hold them off to keep his job, he will enter his 12th season as the Lions' starting center.