I was looking for some serious impact from the defensive front five, and in particular, I was hoping that Trey Flowers would have some key stats in this year's opening game. I was hoping he'd get a sack, have 2 or 3 hits on the QB, and maybe cause a fumble, and at least have 5 or so tackles. Dave Birkett had this to say:
OLB Trey Flowers: Flowers has been the consummate team player since he came to Detroit, and his play Sunday embodied that. He finished with a modest four tackles and no sacks, but had the Lions’ key defensive play, coming from the far side of the field to knock loose a Deebo Samuel fumble late in the fourth quarter on what almost was a third-and-13 conversion that would have iced the game. The Lions need more pass rush out of Flowers and their entire defensive front, but his forced fumble was the hustle play of the game.
That's nice to read, yet pretty lenient too, for someone that is being paid to be a super star the standard should be higher. I look at other players that dominate and they earn their huge salaries. Being a consummate team player just doesn't seem to do enough for me to this this is a fair deal.
Look at the pay of the Lions' top 5 (from Spotrac.com):
Although there's a new head coach and GM in town, the Quinn-Patricia Legacy has made a pretty big impact on our pay structure. Flowers counts over 10% of our total cap space - earning nearly $20MM this season. Other Q-P Legacy players include Vaitai, Okudah, and Collins to total 22.9% of our total salary cap - for just four (4) players!
The reviews on the Okudah obviously weren't pretty and now he's done for, for the season with an Achilles tendon tear.
The reviews on Collins weren't particularly good either, even though he forced a turnover very early in the game.
So the three from the Q-P Legacy earn 17.67% of the total cap space compared to just 9.28% for the other 9 starters on defense (R Okwara 2.28%, Brockers 1.54%, Williams 1.50%, Walker 1.22%, Anzalone 0.89%, Harris 0.57%, Oruwariye 0.47%, McNeill 0.47%, and Parker 0.34%).
Does anyone else have a problem with this math? Sure, if Flowers tore the opposition apart; Collins was a stud linebacker; and, Okudah was developing into a future star - wouldn't Q-P maybe might still be here? Not that we would have wanted that, but their legacy in the players that they coveted still haunts us!
I know a contract is a contract, and you can't throw out players that have a contract, but I hope that they feel the heat. They should produce. They should earn their huge salaries and bonuses. They should star. They should lead. They should be the difference makers.
The defense needs to improve, and I think these top paid players must be accountable to make the difference.