Last year, as we all awaited to see whether Darius Slay or Damon Harrison Sr. would get renewed deals with the Detroit Lions, it was reserve guard Joe Dahl who got one first. Initially, the move was fairly puzzling. Prior to the contract extension, Dahl had just started in four career games, and while the Lions appeared shorthanded at the guard position, Dahl didn’t seem like that much of a priority to the team.
However, after seeing the reasonable contract terms and witnessing his play in 2019, it appears, in retrospect, the Lions made a well-reasoned moved last offseason.
And that’s why Joe Dahl is No. 6 on our list of the Detroit Lions’ best salary cap bargains for the 2020 season.
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.
6. Joe Dahl
2020 cap hit: $1.9 million
2020 cap hit ranking: 54th among guards
In training camp last year, Dahl won the starting left guard position. And although he was part of the offensive line rotation last year, his performance remained—at the very least—average. He earned a PFF grade of 65.9, good for 29th among 82 qualifying guards, and higher than the player who often replaced him, Kenny Wiggins (61.8).
Over The Cap has a figure they use called “OTC Valuation,” which seeks to accurately depict how valuable a player is based on “his on field performance relative to the current market for his position.” That formula uses PFF grades, snap counts and other statistics to spit out a number for what they’re actually worth. Dahl’s OTC Valuation for 2019 was $4.3 million. He counted just $1 million against the cap that year.
Even if Dahl loses out on a starting role to one of the Lions’ rookies this season, $1.9 million is a completely fair price to pay for a solid backup with starting experience in this offensive system. Dahl’s extremely reasonable contract is just one of a few reasons the Lions are spending less at the guard position than all but five teams in the NFL.
Top 10 Detroit Lions salary cap values for 2020: