The Detroit Lions have had a relatively uneventful free agency period so far from the perspective of bringing in free agents from other teams. Even so, they have managed to use up quite a bit of cap space between re-signing several of their own players and trading for Haloti Ngata. Specifically, around $12 million in cap space has been spent in the last week or so, leading to the current salary cap picture for the Lions:
2015 salary cap ($143,280,000) + carryover ($939,171) + adjustments ($98,820)
= LIONS SALARY CAP: $144,317,991
Top 51 contracts ($121,458,587) + dead money ($17,319,111)
= LIONS CAP CHARGES: $138,777,698
Lions salary cap ($144,317,991) - Lions cap charges ($138,777,698)
= LIONS CAP ROOM: $5,540,293
Around $5.5 million in cap space doesn't leave the Lions with a lot of room to work with, but that number is hardly set in stone. If the Lions release or restructure a contract currently in the top 51, for example, that number could go up quite a bit.
The flip side, of course, is that the Lions still have to set aside money for their draft class. Based on the six picks they currently have, Over the Cap projects that the Lions' draft class will cost a total of $4,141,082. In top-51 terms, however, the Lions would only be on the hook for $1,220,201 in cap space. That's because only three contracts from their draft class would actually crack the current top 51. Plus, the amount of money being added to the cap is lessened by other contracts being pushed out of the top 51.
By the time the 2015 regular season begins, the Lions will have to make sure they are under the salary cap with all of their contracts factored in. For now, though, it boils down to this: Detroit has $5,540,293 in cap space as things currently stand. With the draft class added in, the Lions only have $4,320,092 to work with, but that number won't be relevant until later in the offseason when the picks are actually signed.