Tuesday afternoon, it was reported that the Detroit Lions were trading cornerback Jeff Okudah to the Atlanta Falcons for a fifth-round pick, No. 159 overall. Regardless of whether or not you like the move, one of the benefits the Lions get beyond their return on investment is a significant amount of new salary cap space for the 2023 season.
After being drafted third overall in the 2020 NFL draft, Okudah was in the final year of his rookie contract and had a salary cap hit of nearly $10.7 million. The Lions also held a team option to add a fifth-year onto Okudah’s contract, estimated to cost over $11.5 million (fully guaranteed), if the team elected to activate it—which the Falcons now have control over that decision.
Because Okudah was still on a rookie deal, his prorated signing bonus (just under $5.5M) stays in Detroit as part of a cap hit, but his base salary ($1M) and roster bonus ($4.2M) will travel with him to Atlanta.
So here’s how the money shifts around:
- Removes the projected $10.3M from the 2023 salary cap
- Takes on $5.5M in dead cap (prorated bonus)
- Freeing up $5.2M in new salary cap space
- Takes on $5.2M in salary cap
- Holds fifth-year option on Okudah worth over $11.5M
Per a league source, to facilitate the trade of CB Jeff Okudah to the Atlanta Falcons, the Lions agreed to pay $1.5M of his 2023 salary— Brad Spielberger, Esq. (@PFF_Brad) April 12, 2023
Falcons inherit a one-year, $3.682M deal for the former third overall pick, with a fifth-year option deadline of May 1st
Lions 2023 salary cap implications
With Detroit now increasing their 2023 salary cap space by roughly $5.2 million, they now have an estimated $25.9M in salary cap room for the upcoming season.
The Lions' 2023 draft class figures to cost roughly $11M overall, but only $8M of that should could against the top-51 contracts and thus impact the cap. Add in another $5M or so for in-season moves, and the Lions still have a comfortable $12.9M in salary cap to utilize if they need to make any more trades or sign any more free agents.