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Notes: Michael Brockers’ contract among most valuable

The veteran defensive lineman’s new contract with the Lions is thought to be among the league’s best deals.

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If you could create a team-based solely on contracts that offer the most bang for your buck, which ones would you choose?

Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders did just that, offering an all-value team of the league’s best deals (Subscription required).

Tanier’s team included one member of the Detroit Lions—defensive lineman Michael Brockers. In March, the 30-year-old veteran refused a pay cut from the money-tight Los Angeles Rams, so LA traded him to the Lions for a 2023 seventh-round pick.

The Lions inherited Brockers’ $8 million cap hit in 2021 but Detroit needed some immediate cap relief. They agreed on a 3-year, $24 million deal with $11 million guaranteed that will cost the Lions just $3.05 million in 2021—Erik Schlitt broke down all the contract details earlier in the offseason.

“Dan Campbell claims that Brockers is worthy to wield the hammer of Thor. That may be true, but rugged run-stuffing linemen earn far less than sack specialists, and the cap-crunched Rams couldn’t afford to keep their Avengers together on defense. So Brockers will cost Campbell’s Lions just $3.05 million in cap space this season on a contract backloaded with money he may never see,” Tanier writes.

Here’s the Avengers reference if you don’t remember Dan Campbell saying that back in March.

By “money (Brockers) may never see,” let’s take a closer look at how his contract is structured to see what Tanier means.

In 2021, Brockers’ cap hit will be $3.05M, a combination of his $1.075M guaranteed base salary and a $1.975M signing bonus. That’s some immediate cap relief for the Lions compared to the $8M cap hit he was initially set to have.

Then in 2022, his cap hit will jump to $8.975M, with a $7M base salary ($4 M guaranteed) and a $1.975M signing bonus.

In the third year of the deal in 2023, his contract will jump once again, this time to $11.975M, with a $10M base salary (none guaranteed) and that $1.975M signing bonus. However, Brockers will only have $1.975M left in guaranteed money, so the Lions could potentially get out of the contract with a small cap hit and clear $10M in cap space.

This situation appears to be a win-win for both sides. The Lions get immediate cap relief, while Brockers gets security. But with the way the contract is heavily backloaded and the Lions are able to find a way out in a few years with no massive loss, it’s pretty clear why Football Outsiders added Brockers to their all-value team.

And onto the rest of your notes.

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  • Are there any Lions this year expected to be fantasy breakout stars? In a 2021 fantasy team preview, Pro Football Focus evaluates what Detroit has to offer and who might be worth an addition to your squad. (Subscription required.)
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