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Thursday open thread: Who is the Detroit Lions’ most overpaid player?

The Lions are in need of cap room. Who is taking up too much space in 2017?

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions are in desperate need for some cap room, especially if they like what they see in free agent linebacker Zach Orr, who will be visiting the team on Thursday.

Detroit currently only has $5.78 in cap room room which is the second-fewest among all NFL teams. Though the Lions could potentially create some cap room by negotiating extensions of current players—most notably Matthew Stafford and Glover Quin—there are simply some players on the team making well over their production value.

Bleacher Report’s Sean Tomlinson listed each team’s most overpaid player and believes that Marvin Jones Jr.—making a base salary of $7 million and a cap hit of $8.6 million—is the least deserving of his current contract. While that is certainly a high figure for a player that isn’t the team’s clear No. 1 receiver, Detroit can’t do much about it this year. Cutting Jones would only create $2.2 million in cap room.

So today’s Question of the Day is:

Who is the Lions’ most overpaid player?

You can see the Lions’ current contracts here, via Over The Cap.

My answer: Haloti Ngata. This is a pretty easy one, in my opinion. Ngata is pulling in a $5.5 million base salary this year, which may have been necessary to keep him around after Detroit traded for him in 2015. But it’s clear at 33 years old, Ngata isn’t the dominant defensive tackle he once was.

Detroit could release Ngata at this point and save $5.7 million in cap space, but that would leave the Lions devastatingly thin at defensive tackle. The Lions did add Akeem Spence and Jordan Hill in free agency, but considering how heavy of a rotation Detroit uses—and the recent suspension of Khyri Thornton—Detroit still needs a player like Ngata who can play a significant cut of snaps every game. No Lions player played more snaps at defensive tackle than Ngata in 2016.

Other potentially overpaid players are Tahir Whitehead ($4.99 million cap hit), DJ Hayden ($3.6 million) and Paul Worrilow ($3 million).

Your turn.

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