Michael Brockers' new contract with Lions a win-win for player, team
When the Los Angeles Rams and defensive lineman Michael Brockers couldn't agree to a contract restructure last week, necessitated by the franchise's salary cap situation, the team had no choice but to put him on the trading block.
Brockers, drafted in the first round by the Rams in 2012, had spent his entire career with the franchise before it traded him to the Detroit Lions for a seventh-round draft pick in 2023.
"It would be like you, as a probably a rookie investor, and picking a blue-chip stock that just kept returning a lot of awesome dividends," Rams general manager Les Snead said on Friday. "But at the end of the day, we did try to work with Mike to restructure and weren't able to get that done. Because of who he is and how he still plays, was able to find a home, so he could go in and move on and continue his career.
"The Lions wanted to extend his contract and things like that, so we tried to find a win-win for both the Rams and Michael in that situation," Snead continued. "But yes, it definitely did have to do with cap."
At the time of the trade, the Lions were inheriting a hefty $8.5 million cap hit in 2021 for Brockers, but were able to take advantage of the fact he had no guaranteed money remaining on his deal.
To provide some immediate cap relief, while also providing Brockers with some additional long-term security, they signed him to a three-year, $24 million contract with $11 million guaranteed. And with the way the contract is structured, he's almost certain to earn $14 million the next two years.
The contract comes with a $5.9 million signing bonus and base salaries of $1.1 million in 2021, $7 million in 2022 and $10 million in 2023. His base salary is guaranteed this year, as well as $4 million next year. The signing bonus is spread evenly across the length of the contract for cap purposes, a little less than $2 million per year.
That means Brockers will carry a $3 million cap hit this season, as opposed to the $8.5 million he was originally set to have. In 2022, that cap hit jumps to nearly $9 million, but with $8 million in dead money (the $4 million guaranteed, plus the remaining $4 million position of his signing bonus), he's a near-lock to remain with the Lions through next year.
In 2023, at the age of 32, the cap hit jumps to $12 million with $2 million in dead money, so the team will have a decision to make based on his performance at that point in his career.
"I’d say this about Brockers, he’s probably one of the few in this league that can wield the hammer of Thor," Lions coach Dan Campbell said on Friday. "So, we’re really excited about that."