Vaitai latest vet to take major pay cut with Lions


Brad Holmes and the Lions have created more cap space in 2023 by getting another veteran to accept a pay cut.

This time it's offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai, whose base salary has been reduced by more than $8 million this season in a move that saves the Lions $7.4 million in cap space, according to Over The Cap.

Vaitai, who was set to have the fourth-highest cap hit on the team at $12.4 million, sees his 2023 salary sliced from $9.4 million to $3 million.

The Lions also voided the fifth and final season of Vatai's $45 million contract, which was set to run through 2024. He will carry a dead cap hit of $3.8 million next season.

The pay cut isn't much of a surprise. Vaitai, 30, has been plagued by injuries and inconsistency since the former regime paid him like a star in free agency and he missed all of last season due to back surgery.

But the Lions were able to keep him around while saving more cap space than they would have had they simply released him. And Vaitai remains a candidate to start at right guard next season along with the newly-signed Graham Glasgow.

Vaitai joins Romeo Okwara and Charles Harris as veterans to accept clear pay cuts in Detroit, where the Lions are NFC North favorites in 2023. Combined, they have forfeited about $20 million in salary, saving the Lions about $19 million in cap space in 2023.

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