Detroit Lions' Trey Flowers contract: Only 4 defensive players paid more

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
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The Detroit Lions are paying Trey Flowers a boatload of money, but doing their best not to let it impact their 2019 salary cap.

Flowers agreed to a five-year deal with the Lions on Monday that will pay him up to $90 million.

The deal includes a $28.07 million signing bonus and $50 million in practical guarantees.

But as much money as the Lions spent to lure the top defensive end in free agency to town, they structured the deal so Flowers will count just $6.419 million against the 2019 salary cap.

Trey Flowers after the Patriots beat the Rams in the Super Bowl, Feb. 3.

Along with his signing bonus, Flowers has fully-guaranteed base salaries of $805,000 this year and $11.125 million next year. His $14.375 million base salary in 2021 is guaranteed for injury only at the time of signing, with $10 million of that becoming fully guaranteed on the third day of the league year.

Flowers' cap hits rise dramatically after 2019, with the defense end set to cost $16.7 million against the 2020 cap and $23.6 million against the cap in 2023.

On an average annual salary basis, Flowers' contract is worth $18 million, which is more than the franchise tag for defensive ends this year ($17.128 million) and is the fifth largest number for any defensive player in the NFL, according to Spotrac.

Khalil Mack ($23.5 million), Aaron Donald ($22.5 million), DeMarcus Lawrence ($20.6 million) and Von Miller ($19.02 million) are the only defensive players who make more on their current contracts.

Mack, Donald, Lawrence and Miller all had at least 10.5 sacks last season, and Donald led the NFL in that category with 20.5. Flowers has never had a double-digit sack season in college or the NFL, but he was the Lions' No. 1 target in free agency because of his versatility along the line, and fit within head coach Matt Patricia's defense.

Here's the full breakdown of Flowers' contract:


Signing bonus: $28.07 million

Base salary: $805,000

Cap hit: $6.149 million


Base salary: $11.125 million (fully guaranteed)

Cap hit: $16.739 million


Base salary: $14.375 million (guaranteed for injury only)

Cap hit: $19.989 million


Base salary: $16 million

Roster bonus: $1.625 million (due third day of league year; becomes fully guaranteed third day of 2021 league year)

Cap hit: $23.239 million 


Base salary: $16 million

Roster bonus: $2 million (due third day of league year)

Cap hit: $23.614 million

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Read more on the Detroit Lions and sign up for our Lions newsletter.

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