We continue our list of the top 10 salary cap bargains on the Detroit Lions 2020 roster with a newcomer. While this list tends to heavily favor rookies for obvious reasons, our No. 9 on the list is no spring chicken. In fact, he was ironically traded from a team, in part, to free up cap space.
But safety Duron Harmon is still a fairly big bargain for the Detroit Lions, especially if he can live up to the hype he’s created in the first few months since landing in Detroit. Here’s why Duron Harmon is our No. 9 on the list of biggest 2020 cap hit bargains for the Detroit Lions.
9. Duron Harmon
2020 cap hit: $4.5 million
2020 cap hit ranking: 26th among safeties
Harmon earned his nickname—”The Closer”—for the odd tendency to make game-sealing interceptions. Just about every time the opponents threatened at the end of games, the ball would just somehow land in Harmon’s lap. In the past three seasons alone, Harmon has tallied 10 interceptions, half of which came in the fourth quarter (four in the last five minutes of the game).
The Lions absolutely need a Closer in 2020. Last year alone, the Lions were either leading or tied in the fourth quarter in 11 different games. They finished those games just 3-7-1. The Lions are arguably the team most desperate for “The Closer” than anyone else.
In the past three seasons, there are a total of 15 players that have at least 10 interceptions. Here they are ranked by their 2020 cap hit:
Stephon Gilmore (10) - $18.7 million
Marcus Peters (13) - $15 million
Xavien Howard (12) - $13.3 million
Kyle Fuller (12) - $11.5 million
Kevin Byard (17) - $10.9 million
Harrison Smith (11) - $10.75 million
Jordan Poyer (11) - $8 million
Duron Harmon (10) - $4.5 million
Darius Slay (13) - $4.3 million
Tre Boston (11) - $4.1 million
Janoris Jenkins (10) - $4.05 million
Eddie Jackson (10) - $3.7 million
Tre’Davious White (12) - $3.2 million
Damontae Kazee (10) - $2.2 million
Marcus Williams (10) - $2.0 million
As you can see, Harmon is right there in the middle of everyone, but most of the players below him on the list are either still on their rookie deal (Marcus Williams, Damontae Kazee, Tre’Davious White) or in the first year of a huge, backloaded deal (Darius Slay, Eddie Jackson, Janoris Jenkins). For a player in the last year of a non-rookie deal, Harmon is actually quite affordable given his past production.
And there’s reason to believe his production may even go up in Detroit. In New England, Harmon was behind Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty on the depth chart. He would still average around 60-70 percent of snaps with the Patriots, but in Detroit, he’s likely going to be a full-time starter. He’ll have around the same cap hit as his previous three years in New England, but Detroit will be getting more playing time out of him.
So while Harmon’s cap hit of $4.5 million isn’t crazy low, it is quite reasonable if the 29-year-old can keep up his high level of play and his reliability on the back end of the defense. If he can allow a player like Tracy Walker to run free and cause nightmares for opposing offenses, well that’s just a nice little cherry on top.
Top 10 Detroit Lions salary cap values for 2020:
10. T.J. Hockenson
9. Duron Harmon