The Detroit Lions have a tight salary cap situation but are remaining active in free agency nonetheless. While most of the cap-clearing focus has been on the possibility of a new deal for Matthew Stafford, the Lions also have the ability to do simple restructures in which a player’s base salary is converted to a bonus so that it can be spread over the remaining years of the contract.
That is exactly what they have done with Ndamukong Suh.
Was counting $18M+ against cap RT: @davebirkett: Ndamukong Suh will do another simple restructure so the Lions can afford FAs
— Kevin Seifert (@espn_nfcnblog) March 13, 2013
According to Spotrac.com, Suh had a base salary of just over $12.15 million for 2013. The Lions could clear about $7.4 million in cap space by lowering his base salary to $1 million and converting the remaining $11.15 million into a bonus. That bonus is then spread over the three years remaining on his deal. While it creates cap space today, it increases Suh’s cap hit in the future.
The numbers involved in Suh’s restructure aren’t known but what I presented is an example of something they could do. In my example, Suh’s cap hit for next season will be over $20 million, making him a likely target for a cap-saving contract extension, much like what happened with Calvin Johnson last year and has been discussed with Matthew Stafford this year.