It seems counterintuitive to include one of the most expensive players on the roster in our countdown of the top 10 salary cap bargains on the team, but cost is relative. You’re going to have to pay more for a quarterback or a pass rusher or a shutdown cornerback. If you can get players that cost low relative to their own position that is still a bargain worth praising, even if he’s getting paid more than most players on the team.
Number eight on our countdown is a perfect example of that. New cornerback Desmond Trufant signed a significant two-year deal with the Lions this offseason, but Detroit is actually getting a fairly good deal on his first year. Let’s dive into the details.
Reminder: This list is only based on 2020 cap hits, not the entirety of the contract. Additionally, no 2020 rookies are included in the list, since several remain unsigned.
8. Desmond Trufant
2020 cap hit: $7.3 million
2020 cap hit ranking: 22nd among CBs
While Trufant isn’t exactly one of the cheaper players on the roster—his $7.3 million cap is sixth-highest on the team in 2020—when taking into consideration his proven talent and the high value of his position, that is a more-than-reasonable price to be paying for Trufant this year.
Consider some of the cornerbacks getting paid more than him in 2020: James Bradberry ($10 million), William Jackson ($9.9 million), and D.J. Hayden ($7.6 million). Trufant has consistently played at a much higher level than all of these players, and has been on par with some others around this pay range (ie: Trae Waynes - $10M, Joe Haden - $9.6M).
Of course, the big question here is how much does Trufant have left? He’ll be 29 when the season begins, and he hasn’t recaptured some of his early-career success that helped him earn his one and only Pro Bowl nod in 2015.
However, Trufant is actually coming off one of his best seasons to date. He set a career high in interceptions (4) despite the fact that he only played in nine games, and he was on pace for another 12 pass breakups. His PFF grade of 70.3 wasn’t outstanding, but it was good enough to land him 35th out of 135 corners—ahead of players like Chris Harris Jr., Patrick Peterson, and Darius Slay.
While Trufant will likely be overshadowed by first-round draft pick Jeff Okudah sooner rather than later, $7.3 million is a fairly cheap price to pay for a proven No. 1 cornerback, who can provide some mentorship, leadership, and well-above-average play.
Top 10 Detroit Lions salary cap values for 2020: