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Thursday, May 1, 2014
A look at the Lions' TE cap since 2010

By Michael Rothstein

With a new coaching staff and an increasing focus on tight end, how teams handle the payment structure at the position will be an interesting metric to follow over the next few seasons.

As of now, the Lions have been consistent at the spot, typically holding a cap number between $3 million and $5 million for somewhere between three and five players on the roster. However, with Joe Lombardi as the team’s new offensive coordinator and a set of coaches who have long used the tight end effectively, that could change in the future.

If Jim Caldwell and Lombardi are successful, you could see more cap percentage – and that’ll be the future number to look at, not the actual number – spent on tight ends. Why cap percentage? With the NFL potentially increasing the salary cap by massive levels over the next few seasons, judging the importance of a position to teams won’t be in the cap number they spend, but how much of the overall cap they are willing to allocate to a spot.

Some positions – like receiver and defensive tackle for the Lions – are skewed because of Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh, but it is overall a decent gauge for how a team feels about a position group and their relative importance to a roster (rookie contracts aside).

As has been the case in prior cap studies, all numbers are culled from ESPN Stats & Information and for other than 2014, the numbers taken are from the end of the year roster. For example, Tony Scheffler is not listed in 2013 because he was cut in October.

Prior cap studies: Running back; Wide Receiver

2014

Total numbers: $4,050,453 (cap value); 6.23 percent (offensive cap percentage); 2.93 percent (total cap percentage); $7,030,000 (cash value).

By players:

2013

Total numbers: $4,394,643 (cap value); 7.42 percent (offensive cap); 4.20 (total cap); $3,178,088 (cash value).

By players:

2012

Total numbers: $5,505,200 (cap value); 8.84 percent (offensive cap); 4.57 percent (total cap); $4,016,450 (cash value).

By players:

2011

Total numbers: $5,594,166 (cap value); 8.84 percent (offensive cap); 4.78 percent (total cap); $5,641,250 (cash value).

By players:

2010

Total numbers: $7,068,916 (cap value); 9.70 percent (offensive cap); 6.19 percent (total cap); $12,723,500 (cash value).

By players: