DeShon Elliott’s contract details point to a bargain deal for the Detroit Lions

When DeShon Elliott entered the free agency as a former Baltimore Ravens starter, he was expected to attract a lot of attention. But a flooded pool of free agents, a strong recruiting class and an injury led him to keep him on the market longer than expected.

The PFF originally predicted Elliott would land annual contract worth $ 5.25 millionbut the longer the player hangs around in the free agency, the lower the price drops. So, when Elliott finally signed with the Detroit Lions as part of the annual bid, it wasn’t too surprising when an NFL insider Josiah Anderson reported the transaction he was carrying maximum value to $ 3.65 million.

The contract details for Elliott’s deal were recently released, and said the deal is even friendlier to the team than originally reported. Let’s take a look at how this breaks down.


Basic salary: $ 965,000
Signing Bonus: $ 135,000 (guaranteed)
Hitting the trap: $ 1.1 million

While Elliott only has $ 1.1 million this season, his contract likely has built-in incentives, and if Anderson’s number can be trusted, those incentives could be worth up to another $ 2.5 million. Now these incentives have not been released to the public, but since Elliott missed most of last season with an injury, it is highly likely that they will end up in the ‘cannot be earned’ category – meaning that even if Elliott does earn extra bonuses, they will apply up to next year’s salary limit.

Imposing incentives on a contract is a solid approach for organizations and reflects many of their off-season approaches. Almost every contract is low-key, but it can also be financially viable for a player who will secure playtime through on-pitch production, and if Elliott stays healthy he seems to have the chance to make more money.

“When I’m on the pitch I’m very productive,” Elliott told the media session on Thursday. “Now I hope to take this to Detroit and fight for the starting role. Just be able to upgrade this defense. Make this team better. Bring the culture I learned from all the vets when I was in Baltimore and spoke to Quandre (Diggs) – he was here once – being able to talk to him and simply being able to raise my playing level mentally and physically so I will endure longer all season long. Would be great.”

Right now, Elliott looks like a favorite to start working alongside Tracy Walker with Will Harris as hybrid defensive defenders, potentially completing the starting trio. But with the 2022 NFL draft just around the corner, it’s very possible that Lions will add more depth to a security group and perhaps a player who might also push Elliott into a starting role.

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