Tom Lewand believes the Detroit Lions can be "selectively aggressive" in free agency

Posted Feb 12, 2013

President Tom Lewand believes the Detroit Lions can be effective in free agency

Matthew StaffordThere is no magic number or final destination when it comes to how far the Detroit Lions want to get under the projected $121 million salary cap for next season, according to Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand.

"The cap is fluid,” he told "I've used the analogy before that anybody who tells you how much cap room you have is looking at a still from a movie and it doesn’t tell you much about the movie."

The Detroit Lions entered the offseason approximately $3 million over next year’s cap and immediately went to work to alleviate some of the pressure, releasing Titus Young, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Stephen Peterman. Together those moves saved the Lions about $8.5 million toward next year’s cap.  

More relief could be on the way, too, in the form of more releases, a couple restructures and possibly an extension of quarterback Matthew Stafford's contract.

Last year, the team created nearly $10 million in cap room by extending Calvin Johnson’s contract, and could free up another large chunk of cap space by doing the same with Stafford this offseason.

General manager Martin Mayhew told reporters last week that those talks are in their very infancy, but is hopeful a deal can get done. Such a deal would go a long way to helping the Lions revamp their roster.

But Lewand says there’s no optimal range the Lions are targeting in terms of cap space heading into free agency in March.

"The optimal range is dependent on the opportunities that exist, not just on the cap space available," Lewand said. "You’ve got to look at what possible methods of player acquisition are in front of you, what players are available to be acquired, how they fit your system, all of the different things that are involved in the complexity of the system and marry that up to what your available cap room is."

Lewand said that formula is constantly changing and will change significantly over the next month after the NFL Scouting Combine and into the beginnings of free agency.

"There are guys who are subtracted from the roster, guys who are added to the roster and different scenarios that present themselves during the free agency process and the draft process. So it doesn’t end,” he said. “I do feel like we have the opportunity to be selectively aggressive and to accomplish what Martin (Mayhew) and Jim (Schwartz) and the rest of the organization want to accomplish as far as building up this franchise.

"The system we operate under is the same one that all 32 clubs operate under. We feel like we can have a lot of success within that system and have a lot of success in this offseason with the way our salary cap is situated right now."