The Detroit Lions’ 2018 draft class could go down as one of the best in recent history. Already, we’ve seen two members of that draft class land on our list of the top-10 salary cap bargains on the current 2020 team. Of course, players on rookie deals are going to be featured heavily on this list simply because they’re extremely cheap to carry on the team.
However, the two players that have already landed on the list—Da’Shawn hand and Frank Ragnow—have the chance to be cornerstones of the team going well beyond their rookie contracts.
That is even more true of the Lions’ No. 2 salary cap bargain for the 2020 season: safety Tracy Walker.
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.
2. Tracy Walker
2020 cap hit: $970,497
2020 cap hit ranking: 84th among safeties
As far as cap hits go, Walker’s is essentially negligible. Among Detroit Lions safeties on the roster, Walker is fourth—behind Duron Harmon ($4.5M cap hit), Miles Killebrew ($2M), Jayron Kearse ($1.97M). That’s all you really need to know, because Walker is the best safety on the team.
After taking on a full-time role in 2019, Walker displayed his versatility, his ball-hawking skills and his incredible athleticism and range. Per PFF, he split his time almost equally as a box safety (254 snaps) and as a free safety (331 snaps). He was well balanced as a run defender (103 tackles), and coverage man (eight passes defended, 1 INT, 76.0 PFF coverage grade).
With Harmon now in town to lock down the position as a deep cover safety, Walker will now be free to roam as a box defender, slot corner or whatever the Lions need him to be. Walker’s combination of size, speed and arm length will make him a key piece to act as a tough defensive matchup, and if he can continue to grow into the player he has potential to be, he’ll be in Detroit for a long, long time.
If Walker balls out this year, he’ll be in line for a big extension next season. So the Lions better savor Walker while remains an incredible value.
Top 10 Detroit Lions salary cap values for 2020:
10. T.J. Hockenson
9. Duron Harmon
8. Desmond Trufant
7. Matt Prater
6. Joe Dahl
5. Da’Shawn Hand
4. Matthew Stafford
3. Frank Ragnow
2. Tracy Walker