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NFL contract details: Detroit Lions get 3 players for the price of Eric Ebron

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In the wake of cutting Eric Ebron, the Lions have added three players, including his potential replacement in Luke Willson.

Denver Broncos v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The contract details for the Detroit Lions’ latest two signings are finally trickling in, and they’re remarkably reasonable deals. Justin Rogers of The Detroit News has the breakdown.

First, let’s look at the deal for tight end Luke Willson:

That’s a small raise for Luke Willson, who earned a $1 million base and $800,000 signing bonus with the Seahawks last year. For the Lions, it means they’re spending almost $6 million less at the position than they were with Eric Ebron on the roster. Of course, there’s a significant downgrade in talent there, too.

Then there’s defensive tackle Sylvester Williams. His deal is also quite economical for the team:

(ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe adds that the $1.4 million base is guaranteed and that Williams can make up to $5 million including incentives.)

This is actually a pretty significant drop in pay for Williams, who had just signed a three-year, $16.5 million contract with the Titans last season. Williams was due for a $5 million base in 2018 with the Titans, but Tennessee recouped $2.5 million of that by cutting him before the fifth day of the league’s new year. In 2019, his base salary would have been $5.5 million.

Williams can still make similar money with the Lions, but he’ll have to hit all of his incentives to get close. That leaves the Lions in a good position: Lower cap hit this year, while motivating the player by signing him to a prove-it deal.

With cap hits of $2.5 and $3.5 million respectively, Willson and Williams cost the Lions just $6 million in cap space for 2018. In fact, according to Rogers, the Lions actually got three players for the price of one (that one being Eric Ebron):

(Rogers later clarified that he meant those three have a cap hit $375,000 less than Ebron.)

So regardless of whether you think the Lions are better off with Ebron or those three players, the move to cut Ebron certainly gave the Lions a little more wiggle room to act in free agency. With just $11.4 million left in cap space at the moment, the Lions may use every bit of cap space they can this offseason.


Who would you rather the Lions have for 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Eric Ebron
    (495 votes)
  • 91%
    Luke Willson, Sylvester Williams and Kenny Wiggins
    (5172 votes)
5667 votes total Vote Now