By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – Thanks largely to multiple restructures of the rookie contract of Ndamukong Suh, the Detroit Lions enter the 2015 season with the ignominious distinction of leading the NFL in dead money.READ MORE: GM Issues 2nd Bolt Recall; Faulty Batteries Can Cause Fires
The Lions will pay about $17.4 million this season to players not currently on the roster, according to overthecap.com. Much of that money will go to Suh, whose contract – which included a voidable sixth year – the team restructured twice. While Suh accounts for much of the dead money, with $9.7 million due him in 2015, he is only one of 18 players not on the roster who will get paid by the Lions this year.
Obviously, most of those players are receiving negligible amounts.
11 of them, including defensive backs Jerome Couplin and Mohammed Seisay, wide receiver Andrew Peacock and quarterback James Franklin, are due less than $5,000 each.
Four more will make five figures, however; cornerback Jonte Green will make $24,250, tackle Michael Williams will make $32,574, kicker Nate Freese will make $44,568, and defensive end Vaughn Martin will make $65,000.READ MORE: Michigan Reports 1,295 New COVID-19 Cases, 21 Deaths
The most recognizable name on that list is Freese, whom the Lions drafted in the seventh round in 2014 and whom the Lions released in September after he went 3 for 7 on field goals in three games.
The only players making more than a million at the expense of the Lions despite no longer playing for the team are Suh, cornerback Chris Houston ($3.9 million) and running back Reggie Bush ($3.5 million).
Detroit signed Houston to a five-year deal before the 2013 season, but after Houston suffered a toe injury, the team released him before the 2014 season. Bush signed a four-year deal with Detroit before the 2013 season, but he only made it two years. The Lions released him after he failed to produce at a high level in 2014, when ankle injuries consistently gave him problems.
Per overthecap.com, five teams other than the Lions also have more than $10 million in dead money: the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. The Ravens have the second-most dead money in the league, with approximately $13.1 million.MORE NEWS: GOP Lawmaker From Michigan Gets 15 Days In Jail For Drunken Driving