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Lions get cap relief as Stafford, Suh, Burleson restructure contracts

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With one day to go before the start of the league year, the Lions are still over the salary cap. So they’ve restructured some contracts to change that.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and receiver Nate Burleson have all restructured deals. Stafford and Suh surely just converted some of this year’s base salaries into signing bonuses that can be prorated over the rest of their contracts. It’s not clear whether Burleson took less money or simply restructured in the same way.

Suh’s agent, Rosey Barnes, told FOX Sports Detroit that the deal will save the Lions “a significant amount” of cap space. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes that Suh’s cap number was scheduled to be $12.8 million, but the Lions can cut that in half by converting his $9.25 million base salary into the league minimum and give him the difference as a signing bonus. Burleson’s deal saved about $2.17 million in cap space. The particulars about Stafford’s deal are not yet known.

The Lions have made clear that they want to work out a new deal with Calvin Johnson to clear up more cap space and get Johnson locked up for years to come, although there have been no reports that Johnson — who is heading into the final year of his rookie contract — is close to agreeing to terms.

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52 Responses to “Lions get cap relief as Stafford, Suh, Burleson restructure contracts”
  1. losntina69 says: Mar 12, 2012 11:11 AM

    Can someone explain the down side to this? if there is none why wouldn’t everyone do this?

  2. mikebe1 says: Mar 12, 2012 11:15 AM

    As a jet fan I must admit I love the lions and feel if stafford can stay healthy , get sum corners and cut out the penalties they will b a superbowl team immediately.

  3. blacc24 says: Mar 12, 2012 11:15 AM

    Huge factor in continuing our run for a ring.

  4. dskrycki says: Mar 12, 2012 11:19 AM

    The Lions being bad and having so many high picks before the new rookie wage scale is going to continue to make it difficult for them as they will have much of their money tied up with a few guys. This is good news for this year, I just wonder how they will handle the cap 2-3 years from now.

    Hopefully they sign Calvin to a long term deal allowing them to address resigning the free agents they may lose, but that is a lot to ask in a day.

  5. wingz101 says: Mar 12, 2012 11:19 AM

    Glad they could pull this off. I am sure they are not done either. The management on this team is a million times better than it was under Millen. It’s hard to believe these guys were sitting under Ford’s nose for years even as Millen bumbled his way through a decade of disasters.

  6. Soulman45 says: Mar 12, 2012 11:22 AM

    frist to say
    THE GREAT DETROIT LIONS will get every one sign and go on to the SUPER BOWL and ge the win.

    Have A Great Day
    Soulman45

  7. smh35 says: Mar 12, 2012 11:22 AM

    @losntina69
    The downside to this is that it makes their cap numbers even higher for next year. It’s basically taking money from him now, and giving it to him a different year. Helps the team for now, but they will pay for it later.

  8. dskrycki says: Mar 12, 2012 11:24 AM

    100% agree wingz101… this management team is solid!

    losntina69 – the only downside is a higher cap amount spread across the remaining years of each players contract… which they could have potentially huge cap numbers toward the end of their contracts (similar to the situation we currently have with Calvin, he has a $21 million cap number but he is not getting paid that amount this year).

  9. beedubyatoo says: Mar 12, 2012 11:27 AM

    “Can someone explain the down side to this? if there is none why wouldn’t everyone do this?”

    ———————————
    Apparently not every player is as agreeable to this arrangement as Stafford, Suh and Burleson. The players will take a huge tax hit when longer term salaries are converted to immediate signing bonuses.

    Tax amount may be the same, but it’ll all be jammed into one year.

  10. Lucas Welper says: Mar 12, 2012 11:34 AM

    @losntina69

    Players that you definitely want to keep around for all of the years on their contract? only downside is that those numbers just got pushed into future years, potentially making future years cap space more of an issue.

    For players you may not want to keep the duration of their contract… It potentially changes non-guaranteed money into guaranteed, and requires you pay them now, and hope you still wanted to later.

  11. toegoat says: Mar 12, 2012 11:37 AM

    Dirt McGirt

  12. tigers182 says: Mar 12, 2012 11:37 AM

    They need to dump some of the contracts of players that aren’t playing to their contract, ala KVB, Cherilus, A. Smith and Peterman, or trade players with value. They still have to worry about their restricted free agents and draft picks and have holes even if they resign their own players.

  13. noeffinway says: Mar 12, 2012 11:38 AM

    This is the real deal Lions people! Building for long term success while also winning right away. Ya’ll gonna be hatin’ on us for many years to come……I love it!!!!!!!!!

  14. crimhollingsworth says: Mar 12, 2012 11:38 AM

    Downside is the cap is gonna hit the fan next year.

  15. lolb23 says: Mar 12, 2012 11:42 AM

    Lions arguably the tightest TEAM in the NFL. Not one single selfish player in that locker room.

  16. kpow55 says: Mar 12, 2012 11:45 AM

    I love Megatron but can he not see how much his stagnation on his current deal is hurting the teams chances of keeping and acquiring talent going forward?

    When the Lions lose Tulloch or can’t afford Finnegan/Grimes, no one will say “it’s because CJ is holding firm and hurting the team” but we’ll all know.

    He signed it, they owe him, bla bla blah….. If winning is as important as you claim, you do what it takes for the betterment of the team.

  17. lolb23 says: Mar 12, 2012 11:46 AM

    This is good news for this year, I just wonder how they will handle the cap 2-3 years from now.
    ______________________________

    Easy. Guys like Vandenbosh, Corey Williams, Burelson, Peterman and more will all be off the books in next 2-3 years. Opens up plenty of space.

    The Lions are poised to make a run with these guys now, but in 2-3 years they’ll be gone.

  18. phillipalpha says: Mar 12, 2012 11:50 AM

    The drawback with this move is that neither player has a lower capnumber for next season, infact it just went up.. which is why few teams really do it.

    But hopefully they can get CJ a new contract that would clear a significant amount of caproom.

  19. mataug says: Mar 12, 2012 11:55 AM

    losntina69 says: Mar 12, 2012 11:11 AM

    Can someone explain the down side to this? if there is none why wouldn’t everyone do this?

    It will add these numbers to the subsequent years’ cap numbers.

    Assume that Suh has 2 years left on his contract and that Suh had $9million base salary for 2012 season. Let’s say that he converted it to $1mil base + $8mil bonus. The cap number for this year will change from $9mil to $5mil saving them $4mil for the cap but next year will see the addition of $4mil to it. And even though the money(actual cash) is paid now, $4mil of that will count for next year’s cap limiting their options for the 2013 season. Even if they cut him before 2013 season begins, that $4mil will count against the 2013 cap.

    So there needs to be a fine balance on how much you decide to keep for now and how much you push to future seasons.

  20. everybodyhateschris1 says: Mar 12, 2012 12:02 PM

    Remember in 2014, the cap is suppose to increase dramatically because of the NFL’s new television deals. So I don’t really see a downside in this as the duration of the bonus money they will receive to lower their contracts will probably be paid then.

  21. dryble says: Mar 12, 2012 12:07 PM

    In the next couple of years the cap should get a big boost from the new TV money so pushing money back shouldn’t hurt them too much.

  22. pryor4heisman says: Mar 12, 2012 12:13 PM

    Word on the street is Megatron does not want to resign. He wants to get out of that dump of a city and go live somewhere else that has class.

  23. nflfollower says: Mar 12, 2012 12:17 PM

    Let’s all keep watching football so the cap number goes up!!

  24. detroitrollin22 says: Mar 12, 2012 12:20 PM

    Megatron will sign a long term deal asap.

    People say that he’s going to sit back and just wait to get his $21 mill this year and screw the Lions. However, the thing about Calvin that seperates him from other players, WR in general, is that he isnt a selfish or greedy player.

    Calvin is a team player and never once complained or called out any teammates when this team was in the basement in 08-09.

    The Lions have built their franchise around unselfish and team players that are all focused on the goal of winning a championship.

  25. kungfubillysims says: Mar 12, 2012 12:23 PM

    Wow!!!!! A post with the name Suh in the headline and so far not a single negative comment. I must say I’m shocked!
    I’m proud of you haters for being able to restrain yourselves today.

  26. motorcitym says: Mar 12, 2012 12:24 PM

    I’d love to see the Lions trade Avril for a 1st and 3rd this year. That, coupled with extending Calvin, sets the Lions up for years to come. It would also free up even more cap space to be in the market for getting Mario Williams!

  27. mjkelly77 says: Mar 12, 2012 12:29 PM

    My boys! My boys! They make me proud.

  28. mjkelly77 says: Mar 12, 2012 12:34 PM

    losntina69 says:Mar 12, 2012 11:11 AM

    Can someone explain the down side to this? if there is none why wouldn’t everyone do this?
    _______________________

    You can’t defer forever. The bills come due at sometime. If the expenses aren’t spread out properly, they’ll all accumulate in one year.

  29. tigers182 says: Mar 12, 2012 12:43 PM

    pryor4heisman says:
    Mar 12, 2012 12:13 PM

    Word on the street is Megatron does not want to resign. He wants to get out of that dump of a city and go live somewhere else that has class.

    ————————————————-
    Stay classy Ohio.

  30. detroitrollin22 says: Mar 12, 2012 12:45 PM

    @motorcitym

    Stats for First 4 years

    Mario: 202 tacks, 39. 5 sacks, 9 FF, 7 pass deflections

    Cliff: 133 tacks, 30 sacks, 14 FF, 12 pass deflections

    I’d rather have Cliff who’s 2 years younger and a hell of a lot more cheaper. Williams is also injury prone the past two season.

    Also, remember Mario started from Day 1, Avril didnt.

  31. darthhitman says: Mar 12, 2012 12:47 PM

    pryor4heisman says: Mar 12, 2012 12:13 PM

    Word on the street is Megatron does not want to resign. He wants to get out of that dump of a city and go live somewhere else that has class.

    Coming from someone from a state with BOTH Cleveland AND Cincy we should take your word on what a “dump city” looks like. Neither will be mistaken for Eden any time soon

  32. thraiderskin says: Mar 12, 2012 12:47 PM

    Man, this is just like the Saints’ fans, a moment of success and you act like you’re top dogs… Show some restraint, you’re starting to sound a lot alike SOME steeler fans, minus the rings.

  33. mark921129 says: Mar 12, 2012 12:55 PM

    “Word on the street is Megatron does not want to resign. He wants to get out of that dump of a city and go live somewhere else that has class.”

    …and what street would that be? Need a fact, just make one up??

  34. srflores216 says: Mar 12, 2012 12:56 PM

    everybodyhateschris1 hit the nail right on the head. They’re not mortgaging the future because the cap is predicted to increase exponentially when the revenue from new tv deals kicks in come 2014.

  35. everybodyhateschris1 says: Mar 12, 2012 12:59 PM

    detroitrollin22 says: Mar 12, 2012 12:20 PM

    Megatron will sign a long term deal asap.

    People say that he’s going to sit back and just wait to get his $21 mill this year and screw the Lions. However, the thing about Calvin that seperates him from other players, WR in general, is that he isnt a selfish or greedy player.
    _____________________________

    Trust, I’m all for Megatron getting a long term deal asap to lower the cap but it wouldn’t make Calvin a selfish or greedy player for only “honoring” the remainder of his contract. Its not like he is asking for more money, he is simply honoring what was given to him on paper presented by both parties. Its nothing greedy about that.

  36. tigers182 says: Mar 12, 2012 1:01 PM

    @thraiderskin

    Because the fans are excited that there are finally players worthy of resigning and team worth watching? Who said anything about being a “top dog”?

  37. EJ says: Mar 12, 2012 1:03 PM

    All this restructuring is going to bite them in the ### in the next couple of years.

  38. orcheon says: Mar 12, 2012 1:08 PM

    Can someone explain the down side to this? if there is none why wouldn’t everyone do this?

    ———————————————-
    A player would always want to. A team might not want to offer.

  39. anthonioustheprettygood says: Mar 12, 2012 1:12 PM

    laughing at “pryor4heisman” Not what he said, because it was just plain stupid. Laughing at how ridiculous the name is. what a joke

  40. beedubyatoo says: Mar 12, 2012 1:25 PM

    lolb23 says:
    Mar 12, 2012 11:42 AM
    Lions arguably the tightest TEAM in the NFL. Not one single selfish player in that locker room.
    ——————————
    And you know this how?

    lolb23 meet Donkeykong Suh. Screw my teammates . He needed stomping.

  41. mjkelly77 says: Mar 12, 2012 1:26 PM

    kpow55 says:Mar 12, 2012 11:45 AM

    “I love Megatron but can he not see how much his stagnation on his current deal is hurting the teams chances of keeping and acquiring talent going forward? ….”
    _____________________

    Yada, yada, yada …. I’ve been saying that Calvin will be signed BEFORE 4:00PM tomorrow, maybe even today. Avril later in the year. The Lions will have room to sign Tulloch if they want to.

  42. bearsrulepackdrool says: Mar 12, 2012 1:33 PM

    detroitrollin22 says:
    Mar 12, 2012 12:45 PM
    @motorcitym

    Stats for First 4 years

    Mario: 202 tacks, 39. 5 sacks, 9 FF, 7 pass deflections

    Cliff: 133 tacks, 30 sacks, 14 FF, 12 pass deflections

    I’d rather have Cliff who’s 2 years younger and a hell of a lot more cheaper. Williams is also injury prone the past two season.

    Also, remember Mario started from Day 1, Avril didnt.

    __________________________________

    Keep in mind who Mario went up against week after week compared to Avril.

    I hate to say it but Mario went up against better level of competition within his own division than Avril. He racked up more sacks against better offensive lines.

    This was Avril’s only 10+ sack season. Mario had 2 and a 9 sack season.

    Mario is more of a force to be reckoned with than Avril, who is benefiting from Suh and Vandenbosch (he stats only improved the last two seasons before he had 5.5 and 5 seasons respectively)

  43. pilot2011 says: Mar 12, 2012 1:50 PM

    Love this… I’m no Lions fan but for players like Suh and Stafford to restructure to help the organization out is pretty cool.

    All those rookies who were given 60 million dollar contracts over the last few years need to do the same… Cam Newton has a 4 year 20 mil contract, just to put things in perspective for all the young star players.

  44. kpow55 says: Mar 12, 2012 2:32 PM

    “Yada, yada, yada …. I’ve been saying that Calvin will be signed BEFORE 4:00PM tomorrow, maybe even today. Avril later in the year. The Lions will have room to sign Tulloch if they want to.”

    ————————

    Wow, my bad I didn’t know YOU said it, it must be true then.

  45. jimmylions says: Mar 12, 2012 3:26 PM

    This is a move that will definitely create a lot of goodwill in Detroit for Stafford and Suh.

    From a business perspective, it strengthens each of them as local brand names. Plenty of money to be made from billboards, radio ads, and tv ads.

  46. ramal1dw says: Mar 12, 2012 3:33 PM

    I know it sounds ridonkulous, but I think the Lions should seriously consider trading Calvin. You can get a killing for him, it helps the cap, and you can get more draft picks to help build for the future. It sucks but I don’t see how you can continue to have so much money wrapped up in so few players, and an all-pro wr is a luxury I think.

    Then again, I don’t run an NFL team so what do I know?

  47. losntina69 says: Mar 12, 2012 3:46 PM

    You all are awesome thank you , i didnt even think about half the stuff that was put on here. Good looking out.

  48. ginop7690 says: Mar 12, 2012 4:51 PM

    pryor4heisman says:
    Mar 12, 2012 12:13 PM
    Word on the street is Megatron does not want to resign. He wants to get out of that dump of a city and go live somewhere else that has class.

    How can someone with the name of proyr4hesiman talk about class. Get ready for another ass kickin next year Ohio

  49. ginop7690 says: Mar 12, 2012 4:53 PM

    ramal1dw says:
    Mar 12, 2012 3:33 PM
    I know it sounds ridonkulous, but I think the Lions should seriously consider trading Calvin. You can get a killing for him, it helps the cap, and you can get more draft picks to help build for the future. It sucks but I don’t see how you can continue to have so much money wrapped up in so few players, and an all-pro wr is a luxury I think.

    Then again, I don’t run an NFL team so what do I know?

    No offense dude but CJ is more then a luxury he’s the truth. A guy like CJ makes the whole offense go you trade CJ you better be bringing in top Oline talent and convert the team to a run first team then because the passing game would take a dramatic step back

  50. achamarro1 says: Mar 12, 2012 6:53 PM

    Pryor4heisman….with a screenname like that you shouldnt be mentioning class. And the cap number will increase in upcoming years. But this flexibility with key players regarding contracts will only help in future

  51. skrappie32 says: Mar 13, 2012 1:31 PM

    yeah class witch your comment itself totally lacks

  52. skrappie32 says: Mar 13, 2012 1:43 PM

    In the the last few weeks of FEB. they were talking back then that they were trying to rework CJs deal so yeah something went down that we as lions fans have not heard about just yet for all we know maybe these guys are redoing there deals because CJ won’t or maybe they they did because they need money to actually pay the guy who knows until we get the facts the problem is we won’t be getting any top free agents this year better draft well and draft smart and to the guy that side cj want to leave only in your dreams buddy after a 1600 yard seeason now he want to leave his QB lol
    What’s you talking about Willis.

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