Matthew Stafford's contract extension created $6.5 million in cap space for the Detroit Lions for 2013 and 2014. Although his new five-year deal is worth a sizable $76.5 million, it dropped his cap hit from $20.8 million to $17.8 million in 2013 and $19.3 million to $15.8 million in 2014.
With the extra $3 million for 2013, the Lions now have $4.9 million in cap space, according to NFLPA records. That gives them some flexibility when it comes to potentially adding another veteran free agent before the season. If they want to bolster their offensive tackle depth or something like that, for example, they could go beyond simply offering the veteran's minimum to a free agent.
The Lions could also decide to simply stand pat and save that cap space by rolling it over to next year. As of early June, the Lions were third in the NFL in money committed to the 2014 salary cap, so every little bit could help, especially with Ndamukong Suh's cap hit set to go up to $21.4 million next year. That extra cap space could be quite useful if the Lions aren't able to work out an extension with Suh in the early part of the offseason.
In the NFC North, the Lions are currently third in cap space. They are ahead of the Chicago Bears ($1.6 million) and behind the Green Bay Packers ($16.3 million) and Minnesota Vikings ($7.0 million).