On Tuesday, we discussed the most underpaid player on the roster. Some went with a player still on their rookie contract like Taylor Decker or Quandre Diggs. Others, like myself, thought that even a guy like Golden Tate—who will be taking up the fourth-most cap space on the team this year—is coming at a pretty damn good discount.
Now it’s time to look at the other side of the coin. Let’s talk about players that are eating up a whole bunch of cap space and haven’t quite yet earned the right to do so.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Who is the Lions’ most overpaid player?
My answer: It’s hard to say anyone other than Ezekiel Ansah, who was franchise tagged this offseason and will be paid $17.1 million this year. Ansah, who has been battling injuries for the past few years, is clearly the Lions’ best pass rusher on the team and considering how rare good pass rushers are in this league, it’s understandable why the Lions decided to give him the costly tag.
Still, that number doesn’t match his production as of late. Ansah has the third-highest cap hit among all defensive linemen in 2018, and that’s coming from a player with a combined 14.0 sacks in his past two seasons.
But since that’s the easy answer, I’ll offer a second. The Lions don’t have a ton of other expensive deals on the books (outside of Matthew Stafford, and you won’t see me calling him overpaid anytime soon), but if there’s someone that can qualify as overpaid, it’s probably T.J. Lang.
The Lions were super aggressive courting Lang, snatching him away from the Seahawks at the very last second during the 2017 offseason. As a result, Lang has a cap hit of $10.9 million this year (second among guards) and $11.6 million next year (sixth). For a player that was coming off a serious injury in 2016 and struggled through health issues last season, that’s a little on the pricey side of Lang. Still, it could really pay off if the offensive line gets its act together as a unit this year.