Breaking down contract for new Lions offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Allen Park — Contract figures for new Detroit Lions offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai have become available, courtesy of database website Spotrac.
According to Spotrac, Vaitai's five-year deal is worth $45 million, not the $50 million originally reported when the agreement was reached on Monday. The pact includes a $7 million signing bonus and $20 million of total guarantees.
As with the majority of multi-year NFL contracts, Vaitai's contract is back-loaded. In 2020, he's set to earn a modest base salary of $4 million. Combined with the prorated portion of his signing bonus ($7 million divided over the contract's five years), he'll carry a $5.4 million cap hit next season.
That cap hit jumps to a $10.4 million in 2021 with Vaitai's base salary increasing to $9 million. That salary is the remaining of his guaranteed money.
For the remainder of the contract, Vaitai has cap hits of $8.4 million in 2022, $10.4 million in 2023 and $10.4 million in 2024.
Starting in 2022, it becomes palatable for the team to escape the deal with a reasonable dead money cap hit. If, for whatever reason, the pairing isn't working out, the Lions could cut Vaitai before the 2022 season while only being responsible for the $4.2 million in dead money remaining from his signing bonus. That figure drops to $2.8 million in 2023 and $1.4 million in 2024.
With Vaitai's numbers, we now know the Lions have committed $11.73 million in cap space to their top two agreements in the early stages of free agency. Linebacker Jamie Collins will carry a $6.33 million cap hit.
The Lions also have reached agreements with defensive tackle Nick Williams and quarterback Chase Daniel. The specifics of Williams' two-year deal remain unknown, but Spotrac reports Daniel will carry a $2 million cap hit in 2020.
Detroit had entered the week with about $25-30 million to spend on free agents, but cleared another $5.7 million on Tuesday by releasing linebacker Devon Kennard.