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Notes: What would trading down do to Lions’ 2020 cap space?

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Having some fun with Over The Cap’s great tools

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NFL: Pro Football Hall of Fame-Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Dinner Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With all of the rumors about the Lions possibly trading the third overall pick, one may wonder: what would the cap implications be? Over The Cap (OTC) recently updated their rookie pool page to reflect the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), providing a cool tool for carrying out such a thought experiment:

Detroit is third on OTC’s table with an expected rookie pool allocation of $12.871 million for all of its currently-owned selections. This would require approximately ($12.871 million - (7 * $610,000)) = $(12.871 - 4.271) million = about $8.6 million in effective cap space under the new CBA rules for the following reason:

The note from OTC to get effective cap space needed is to subtract $610,000 from each pick’s cost to account for the contract it displaces off the top 51 used for cap computation, which is what we’ve applied here. So, the estimate is $12.871 million in contracts that end up increasing the cap space used by $8.6 million. What happens if the Lions make a trade?

Our fearless leader Jeremy Reisman broke down Field Yates’ four trade down scenarios from the third overall pick yesterday, so we can price those out here:

2020 Effective Cap Change from Hypothetical Trades

Scenario Cap charge of new picks After 3rd overall removed Increase in # 2020 Picks Final 2020 Cap Effect
Scenario Cap charge of new picks After 3rd overall removed Increase in # 2020 Picks Final 2020 Cap Effect
1 $6,971,123 $875,027 1 $265,027.00
2 $6,327,197 $231,101 2 -$988,899.00
3 $6,347,393 $251,297 1 -$358,703.00
4 $6,156,509 $60,413 1 -$549,587.00

Scenario 1 trades the $6.1 million pick 3 to the Dolphins for the $5.5 million pick 5 and the $1.47 million pick 39 for a net increase of $265,027 after subtracting the displaced top 51 contracts.

Scenario 2 acquires picks 12, 19, and 80 from the Raiders with aggregate first-year cap hits in 2020 of $6.3 million. Subtracting the third overall pick’s expected cap hit makes this nearly a wash at $231,101, but because this trade turns one contract into three contracts and displaces two extra $610,000 chunks off the top 51, the Lions would end up actually gaining $988,899 in effective cap space after the trade.

Scenario 3 sends the pick to the Chargers for picks 6 and 37 plus a future selection that does not affect the 2020 salary cap. The net value of the 2020 rookies’ cap hits would be $251,297 higher, but after subtracting for top 51 displacement this again ends up increasing the Lions’ effective cap space after the trade by $358,703.

Finally, in Scenario 4 we have the Jaguars sending picks 9 and 20 for a net 2020 rookie contract change of just $60,413. After displacing one extra $610,000 contract off the top 51, this would increase effective cap space for the Lions by $549,587.

No matter which scenario occurs, it turns out the cap effect is not very big. It’s almost like the rookie salary scale decreases roughly in line with typical draft pick value charts (which is itself a pretty interesting result, actually). Oh well. Still nice to know there’s nothing to see here and the cap effects of such trade down moves aren’t something we really have to think about.

We now proceed to the rest of today’s Notes:

  • When the Los Angeles Rams traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans, a massive dead cap obligation was created for the Rams in 2020. One observation from Jason Fitzgerald from Over The Cap had a note about the Lions:

  • Mike O’Hara at the official team site profiled five edge pass rushers the Lions could be interested in, starting with the obvious one from Ohio State (if he falls to the third pick).

  • In the absence of new film to break down, Chris Spielman is finding new outlets for his creative nature every day.

  • Pro Football Focus’ latest three-round mock draft from Wednesday involves the Lions trading down from the third overall pick and loading up on defense.

  • We could all use a dose of positivity right now, so hopefully Roary and these kids bring a smile to your face: