Earlier in the week, we mentioned three Detroit Lions players that could potentially be cap casualties this year, in an effort for the team to create a little cap space. Though we admitted most of those options weren’t likely to happen, we’ve already seen some surprises from around the league.
One of the players we did not mention was linebacker DeAndre Levy. However, NFL.com placed Levy in the "potential surprises" category of cuts this year.
Levy’s contract numbers seem to make that an impossibility. According to Over The Cap, Levy’s cap hit is $8.225 million in 2017 and would remain $7.2 million if he was released. That saves the Lions just $1.025 million while getting rid of arguably the Lions’ best linebacker on the team.
However, Levy’s contract is certainly problematic. Spending $8.2 million on a player that has had serious injuries in back-to-back seasons and may never get back to his 2014 talent level isn’t exactly wise spending. So today’s Question of the Day is:
What should the Lions do with Levy?
My answer: I think the Lions should just sit with this contract for a year and reconsider next season. If Levy actually plays well, great, he’s under contract for another two years. If he plays poorly or suffers another serious injury, the Lions can create $3.8 million in cap space next year by cutting him. Levy’s cap number for 2017 is certainly more than his current value, but they aren’t particularly cap-strapped this offseason, so they can eat the mistake.
It’s certainly a better option than completely getting rid of Levy, but the other option is a contract restructure. While it’s hard to predict what a restructure would look like, it would likely result in the "kicking the can" method of cap maneuvering that former general manager Martin Mayhew became notorious for. It would likely back-load Levy’s contract, giving Detroit more room this offseason, but making it more difficult for him to be released down the line. That doesn’t solve the problem, just delays it.