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With NFL salary cap set, how much room do Lions have?

The NFL salary cap has officially been set for the 2015 season. Let's examine how much room the Detroit Lions have going into free agency.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has officially set the salary cap for 2015 at $143.28 million. This is an increase of more than $10 million from last year's $133 million number. Martin Mayhew indicated earlier in the offseason that a $10 million jump was expected, and the final increase actually ended up being slightly more than that.

With the cap at $143.28 million, how much room do the Detroit Lions currently have to work with? Using data from the NFLPA and Over the Cap, here's how it breaks down:

2015 salary cap ($143,280,000) + carryover ($939,171) + adjustments ($98,820)
= LIONS SALARY CAP:  $144,317,991

Top 51 contracts ($108,029,087) + dead money ($17,384,112) - other adjustments ($90,003)
= LIONS CAP CHARGES: $125,323,196

Lions salary cap ($144,317,991) - Lions cap charges ($125,323,196)
= LIONS CAP ROOM: $18,994,795

(Note: The top 51 number includes estimates of what the cap numbers will be for the Lions' recent signings. Also, for the "other adjustments" category, that is an estimate based on some discrepancies between my numbers and the official NFLPA numbers.)

Some of that cap space will have to be set aside for the Lions' draft class, and some of it will be used to tender restricted free agent George Johnson and exclusive-rights free agent Jeremy Ross. However, the Lions will go into free agency with a pretty good amount of cap space. A lot of that space could quickly disappear if the Lions are able to sign Ndamukong Suh to a long-term deal, but I suppose it would ultimately depend on how his deal is structured.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how the Lions put this cap space to use in the coming weeks. A lot depends on what happens with Suh, of course, but with or without him, the Lions should be able to be pretty active in free agency.

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