In order to make some of the aggressive moves the Detroit Lions have made in free agency, they needed to free up some cap space. First, they created $10 million in cap space by releasing veteran defensive tackle Michael Brockers. Then they asked Charles Harris to take a $3 million pay cut. Now, another player has agreed to take a pay cut... and it’s a massive one.
As first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates, defensive end Romeo Okwara agreed to a pay cut that saves the Lions nearly $9 million in cap space. A look at the renegotiated contract on Over the Cap reveals a very simple move: Okwara was due $11 million in salary in 2023. That number is now just $2 million. In other words, Okwara took a $9 million pay cut to stay with the Lions.
Here’s a look at Okwara’s contract before and after the move:
The move actually saves the Lions more money than if they had released Okwara, seeing as they would’ve recouped $7.5 million in cap space with a straight cut.
Much like the new contract for Charles Harris, the Lions afforded Okwara the ability to get some of that salary back with the addition of per game roster bonuses. It’s an extremely small consolation prize considering the hefty pay cut, but it’s something. There is also the possibility that the Lions included other performance bonuses to earn some money back.
Last year, Okwara missed most of the season due to a torn Achilles in 2020, but when he returned to the lineup in December, he flashed some of the potential he showed before signing a three-year, $39 million deal in 2021. In his second game back in 2022, he tallied two sacks against the New York Jets.
Obviously, this is a huge win for the Lions to create the extra cap space, and it’s yet another example that the Lions have established a culture where players want to be in Detroit. Of course, having Romeo’s brother, Julian Okwara, probably helped some, too.