clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Lions free agency: Contract details for Tracy Walker, Alex Anzalone, 3 others

Breaking down the true value of the Lions’ free agent contracts over the past couple of days.

Chicago Bears v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions made a flurry of roster moves on Monday, re-signing a handful of their own players to return for the 2022 season and, in some cases, beyond. However, as is the case with free agency every year, some of these deals were originally reported in a way that inflated the actual value of the deal.

So to help bring a little more clarity to the contract the Lions and their players agreed to, I broke down five of the latest contracts from free agency.

It starts with the biggest deal the Lions made on Monday: a three-year, $25 million contract agreed upon (but not officially signed) by safety Tracy Walker.

Tracy Walker — Three years, $25 million ($16.95M guaranteed)

Sources: Aaron Wilson, Over The Cap

2022

Base salary: $1.035M (guaranteed)
Signing bonus: $6.965M ($2.32M proration per year)
Cap hit: $3.355 million

2023

Base salary: $8.95 million ($8M guaranteed for skill/cap)
Signing bonus: $2.32M proration
Workout bonus: $50,000
Cap hit: $11.3 million
Dead cap if cut: $12.6M

2024

Base salary: $7.95 million
Signing bonus: $2.32M proration
Workout bonus: $50,000
Cap hit: $10.3 million
Dead cap if cut: $2.32M

Note: There is also a reported $100,000 Pro Bowl incentive bonus each year

Like many contracts, Year 1 is intended to be very team-friendly. With a low base salary, Walker will have a small cap hit in 2022. However, his pay takes a very significant jump in Year 2. His cap hit of $11.3 million currently ranks 10th among safety for the 2023 season. And with the heavy guarantees in his contract, the Lions would actually lose money on his deal if cut. In other words, Walker ain’t going anywhere for the next two seasons.

However, Year 3 is very avoidable if Walker isn’t living up to his deal. Detroit could save $8 million by cutting bait after two year, essentially making it a two-year, $17 million deal for Walker (including the $2.3 million in dead cap).

Alex Anzalone — One year, $2.25 million ($1.75M guaranteed)

Sources: Aaron Wilson, Over The Cap

Base salary: $1.035M (guaranteed)
Signing bonus: $715,000
Game day roster bonus: Up to $500,000 (only 14/17th count against the cap, based on last year’s playing time)
Cap hit: $2.16M

Note: There is also $1.75 million in unspecified potential bonuses for playtime and team achievements

Originally reported as a one-year deal worth “up to $4 million,” this is actually a much more affordable deal. With a cap hit of $2.16 million, Anzalone is only counting against the cap a tad more than last year ($1.7 million). It’s a deserved raise, but it far from guarantees a spot in the starting lineup for Anzalone. But with most of his money guaranteed, it’s pretty likely he lands on the 53-man roster.

Tim Boyle — One year, $2 million ($1.75M guaranteed)

Sources: Aaron Wilson, Over The Cap

Base salary: $1.25 million ($1 million guaranteed)
Signing bonus: $750,000
Cap hit: $2 million

Note: There is also $500,000 in playtime incentive bonuses

Pretty simple deal here. Boyle gets a little less than he did last year ($2.3 million) and his contract is still very manageable. Say what you will about Boyle as a player, but his contract does not get in the way of any moves the Lions plan on making. The Lions are going cheap at backup quarterback... for now. This should prevent Detroit from making any other moves at quarterback, should they want to.

Evan Brown — One year, $2.025 million ($600,000 guaranteed)

Sources: Aaron Wilson, Over The Cap

Base salary: $1.2 million
Signing bonus: $600,000
Game day roster bonus: Up to $200,000
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $2.025M

Note: There is also a $1 million playtime incentive

The Lions had the option of giving Evan Brown a rights to refusal restricted free agent tender, which would’ve cost the team $2.43 million. Detroit, instead, was able to save a little money and retain Brown anyways. It’s a bit surprising to see Brown agree to such a deal, but the Lions will gladly bring him back, put some guaranteed money in his pocket, and feel good about their backup to Frank Ragnow.

C.J. Moore — One year, $1.75 million ($800,000 guaranteed)

Source: Over the Cap

Base salary: $1.2 million ($250,000 guaranteed)
Signing bonus: $550,000 signing buns
Cap hit: $1.75 million

Another deal that was misleadingly referred to as “up to $2.4 million,” Moore’s deal is a bit more team-friendly. At this point, it’s unclear how Moore can get up to that $2.4 million deal, but it’s likely based either on individual incentives or team incentives (or both).