With the draft good and over, the Lions and the rest and the NFL are on the path towards the 2018 season, but there’s always time to do some salary cap maneuvering.
Early Thursday morning, Detroit did just that with defensive tackle Akeem Spence. According to a source of ESPN’s Field Yates, Detroit reworked the three-year, $9 million contract Spence signed just last offseason when he came over as a free agent:
Source: the Lions and DT Akeem Spence have agreed to a reworked contract. His base salary drops from $3.15M to $2.575M, with a chance to earn some money back. Detroit creates $500K in cap space.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 3, 2018
While the timing of this move and the relatively insignificant amount of money it clears up for Detroit’s salary cap ($500k) may seem peculiar, Bob Quinn has maintained throughout his tenure as Lions GM that the team is always looking for ways to get better, and this move allows for more flexibility for Quinn to improve the roster. Also, it’s worth noting the drafting of Da’Shawn Hand, a prospect the Lions view as versatile enough to line up as a five-technique as well as a three-technique—the position Spence occupied often last season.
Spence’s first season in Detroit since coming over from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers varied from promising and underwhelming over the course of the 2017 season. A prominent fixture along the defensive line—logging the third-most amount of snaps among defensive linemen—Spence notched 39 tackles, 3.0 sacks, a forced fumble, and earned a 76.7 grade from Pro Football Focus.