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Megatron, Suh restructure contracts to give Lions cap space

Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Suh AP

The bad news for the Lions is that they were such a bad team that they had Top 2 draft picks in three straight years from 2007 to 2009. The good news for the Lions is that unlike in earlier years, the Lions actually drafted well with their high picks, taking Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh.

The bad news about that is those were the last three years before the new Collective Bargaining Agreement brought sanity to the rookie salary structure, and the Lions had to spend a fortune on Johnson, Stafford and Suh. The good news is that they’re getting some short-term salary cap relief from restructuring two of those contracts.

According to Yahoo Sports, both Johnson and Suh agreed to restructure their deals so that they’re making a base salary of the league minimum this season and making the rest of their money as a signing bonus that can be prorated over the remainder of their deals. The two restructured deals created about $11 million in 2013 cap space.

In other words, neither Johnson nor Suh is taking less money, and their cap hits are just being pushed forward into the future, meaning that $11 million bill will come due in future years. But in a year when the Lions’ top decision makers, including G.M. Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz, have to know that their jobs are on the line if they don’t win, it was important for them to be able to make deals with free agents like Reggie Bush and Glover Quin now, not to worry about the future. Without restructuring Johnson and Suh, the Lions wouldn’t have had the cap space to make those moves.

If the Lions are able to parlay these moves into a playoff season in 2013, they’ll gladly deal with those cap hits in the future. If the Lions play in 2013 like they did in 2012, it may be a general manager other than Mayhew and a coach other than Schwartz dealing with those cap hits in the future.

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46 Responses to “Megatron, Suh restructure contracts to give Lions cap space”
  1. jdavis20 says: Mar 18, 2013 6:22 PM

    The Lions have ample amount of talent come September to make the playoffs and beyond this year. I’m so excited for the season to start and knowing that we will have more cap space to sign more free agents and draftees ensures me that this team is in win now mode.

    Than again, in the NFL, it’s always win now mode.

  2. fishroy says: Mar 18, 2013 6:24 PM

    Amazing to see the Lions’ front office making positive moves after so many years incompetency in that area.

  3. wludford says: Mar 18, 2013 6:24 PM

    And so the Lions ensure they will continue in cap hell for many years to come…

  4. lilrob10201 says: Mar 18, 2013 6:24 PM

    They are good team players.Any person that is willing to give up money to help their team bring in more players is a team player.

  5. johngaltwho says: Mar 18, 2013 6:25 PM

    Johnson is one of the best receivers in the league.

    Suh is an overrated unfocused undisciplined buffoon who wouldnt get noticed if it werent for cheap shots and off the field action.

  6. hyzers says: Mar 18, 2013 6:26 PM

    Johnson will play his career out in Detroit and Suh will get traded next off season when his cap hit is 20 million.

  7. davefu50 says: Mar 18, 2013 6:28 PM

    Top 2 draft picks in three straight years from 2007 to 2009.

  8. theecowardlylion says: Mar 18, 2013 6:30 PM

    “They are good team players.Any person that is willing to give up money to help their team bring in more players is a team player.”

    you may want to re-read the article. they didn’t give up any money, rather they restructured the way the money they are paid counts against the cap.

  9. zeedoubleyou says: Mar 18, 2013 6:31 PM

    They are not giving up a dime.

    Anytime you see the word ‘restructure’ it just means that either a roster bonus or base salary was converted to a signing bonus to push cap charges into the future.

  10. azarkhan says: Mar 18, 2013 6:33 PM

    The Megatron contract for $132 million will eventually kill the Lions unless they find a way to get out of it.

  11. ravenmuscle says: Mar 18, 2013 6:33 PM

    No one cares about the Lions….when did they win their last Superbowl?

    The Packers will walk to another Division Championship…just like always.

  12. logicalvoicesays says: Mar 18, 2013 6:34 PM

    Reggie Bust signed with the wrong team and will win ZERO in Detroit.

  13. bobonmycob says: Mar 18, 2013 6:37 PM

    So basically the Lions have all the talent in the world but will still end up falling flat on their faces. Sounds about right.

  14. castleanthrax says: Mar 18, 2013 6:39 PM

    Great receiver, but in all seriousness can we grown ups stop calling Johnson Megatron?

    Really, Megatron is a nerd’s wet dream. Calvin Johnson is not that…

  15. randallflagg52 says: Mar 18, 2013 6:40 PM

    Should have drafted Russell Okung or Trent Williams over Suh. Less headache, and Stafford had serious injury issues early in his career, he could still use better blind side protection. #2 overall is way too much for any DT, and Suh seems to have regressed a bunch since his awesome rookie year.

  16. purpleguy says: Mar 18, 2013 6:40 PM

    Before the present Lions regime is heaped with praise, make sure they aren’t just kicking the can down a road named “Screwed In The Future”. Teams that make these moves forstalling cap problems are usually a player or two away from Super Bowl contention, not coming off a 4 win season.

  17. EJ says: Mar 18, 2013 6:40 PM

    Its a good move right now, but in the future will they be saying it was a big mistake?

  18. thestrategyexpert says: Mar 18, 2013 6:42 PM

    Yes please a new GM!!!

    Mayhew is doing an atrocious job and he needs to be stopped. And Stafford was NOT a good use of a #1 overall pick in that particular year and scenario. It was a HORRIBLE decision and we are struggling with it now due to his high pay rate that is NOT commensurate with his results!!

  19. Priscilla Lane Fan Club says: Mar 18, 2013 6:42 PM

    The Lions did not have a Top 2 pick in 2008. They had the 17th pick in the first round that year.

    The Lions did have a Top 2 pick in three out of four years (2007-10).

    Good lord, can someone tell me why I am still a Lions fan?!?

  20. larryboodry says: Mar 18, 2013 6:42 PM

    lilrob10201 says: Mar 18, 2013 6:24 PM

    “They are good team players.Any person that is willing to give up money to help their team bring in more players is a team player.”

    You evidently misread the part that said they aren’t giving up any money, just delaying the $11 million cap hit ’til future years.

  21. profootballwalk says: Mar 18, 2013 6:46 PM

    This is what dooms franchises – coaches and GMs selling out the future for this year, and their own skins. The franchise will need that cap room next year, and the next, and the next. Belichick gets hammered for being a hard-ass, but he’s thinking of Bob Kraft’s franchise, not his own job this year.

  22. necr0philia says: Mar 18, 2013 6:49 PM

    lilrob10201. There not giving up any money. There reconstructing, they will still get what is owed just in diffrent terms.

  23. packerbackernj says: Mar 18, 2013 6:50 PM

    They are good team players.Any person that is willing to give up money to help their team bring in more players is a team player.
    _________________

    Who said they gave up money? Hope you’re sarcastic or you’re a buffoon.

  24. godevilsasu says: Mar 18, 2013 6:52 PM

    The Quin and Bush deals were done while only Suh restructured his deal. Calvin doing it will probably go towards getting a deal done with Jason Hanson and bringing back Lawrence Jackson.

  25. scratchnpost1234 says: Mar 18, 2013 7:08 PM

    A lotta holes still on this team and a lot of wishful thinking with oline guys stepping up nobody’s seen play a lot yet. Mayhew just mortgaged the future and put the due bill on the next GM/HC if they fall flat and he gets canned, then again it took WCF 8 years to figure out Millen sucked? Mayhew needs to hit on draft picks other then a top 5 one this year and right now they only have 6 picks in the draft. He better make them count, and i agree with the poster that suggested Suh may get traded before next season unless he has a monster year and agrees to redo longterm for less money per season if they want to keep him. He’s better then opposing fans say he is(ignorance is bliss) and if they traded him many of your teams would come calling.

  26. phuckosu says: Mar 18, 2013 7:11 PM

    Only way to fix the problem is to trade one of the big 3. Lions will never be a perennial success like pats and pack having those 3 mega contracts. Stafford will get a new more expensive contract next year. Suh will want a new more expensive contract in 2 years. I love all 3 in lion uniforms, but something has got to give

  27. scratchnpost1234 says: Mar 18, 2013 7:16 PM

    …and who should the Lions have taken with the pick that got $tafford? Who else was in that draft worth the #1 overall? Sanchez?

  28. dolfanatik says: Mar 18, 2013 7:16 PM

    Suh will be gone after next year

  29. dolphins512 says: Mar 18, 2013 7:17 PM

    I’m not a Lions fan, but I like the addition of Reggie Bush to that offense. He is a receiving threat and in that spread out offense should do well. Also, after watching everyone of his games in Miami, he still has plenty in the tank to help this team win.

    From what I recall, I think the Lions needed some serious secondary help. Any movement in that area?

  30. hazelmn says: Mar 18, 2013 7:28 PM

    CJ and Suh did what any would have done, and it was a no-brainer.

    “Hey, do you want to take some of your future salary and instead have me pay it to you today as a signing bonus?”

    Everyone wins, except for the Lions in about, say, 5 years.

  31. jamezz23 says: Mar 18, 2013 7:31 PM

    We are going to extend suh and Stafford before next year anyways, that will open up plenty of cap space for next year, along with a higher salary cap, we’ll be fine. They actually seem to have a plan in mind now and hopefully it works out for the best.

  32. nakedhookers says: Mar 18, 2013 7:47 PM

    Martin Mayhew has done such an awful job with the cap. BRING MILLEN BACK!!

  33. steelers4385 says: Mar 18, 2013 7:57 PM

    Calvin shouldnt have to do jack. Guy literalllllly carries that team on his back.

  34. giants56 says: Mar 18, 2013 7:57 PM

    Matt Millen is flabbergasted!

  35. staffordsyear says: Mar 18, 2013 8:20 PM

    Love it!! Their in it to win it!..if it don’t happen,big deal.Its the lions..if its back to 4-12 seasons who cares.us lions fans are used to it. This cannot hurt.

  36. gbmickey says: Mar 18, 2013 8:37 PM

    By many of the comments on here there are many who do not understand what a restructure consists of. When a team is forced to restructure it means they are in cap trouble and are just compounding the problem by adding more of a hit to future cap years. Its not something they will be able to avoid. Two that tried (cowboys & redskins) got their wings clipped and are now suffering for their fiscal irresponsibility.

    For those mentioning trade for like Suh I highly doubt it. he cap hit for him just got worse so
    who would want to put themself in the same predicament?

    Detroit you better hope you win it this year because it about to get a whole lot worse.

  37. malekmj says: Mar 18, 2013 8:38 PM

    If the team can get by without a Stafford resigning it is a very good thing for the team. Next season a Stafford long term deal will help the team out much more significantly by creating a very low cap number for 14 and 15. If he has a great season and wins a playoff game he gets 20 mil a year. If he doesn’t have a great season and we go 8-8 than he gets 17. Its pretty simple. Next season Stafford will only be owed about 10 million….and will not be able to resist the offer of a 25 Million dollar signing bonus and another 30 Million of guarenteed money.

  38. funktron2x says: Mar 18, 2013 9:08 PM

    Still wish the league had find a way to grandfather in teams posting those insane rookie deals from before the fix to the rules. The cap issue was unavoidable thanks to that. good thing it can be manipulated so much or lions would never have had chance to sign any fa at all

  39. purplepunisher says: Mar 18, 2013 10:14 PM

    Ha ha… lions fans getting excited and mortgaging their future for a player that the Dolphins had no use for.. pathetic.

  40. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Mar 18, 2013 10:32 PM

    A home town discount so Detroit can make a super bowl run? Restructures are starting to become laughable.

  41. tedmurph says: Mar 18, 2013 10:54 PM

    Way too many good players and high draft picks for this team to be so bad. Charachter issues or coaching? Something’s wrong.

  42. pierrepoint1 says: Mar 18, 2013 11:41 PM

    And heaven knows Johnson, Stafford & Suh haven’t been worth very penny of their rookie contracts.

    But I guess Smith doesn’t have a problem with players being underpaid.

  43. pacificamjr says: Mar 18, 2013 11:59 PM

    5-11 (lions fan here)

  44. lionsplayoffs says: Mar 19, 2013 12:33 AM

    Past 10 years…Lions have drafted 4 WR’s with top 10 picks. 3 WR’s with second round picks. 1 WR with a third round pick.

    Calvin is the only real NFL starter left of all of those picks. Most of them are not even in the league anymore (Broyles is for now, and I think Roy Williams still has a job).

    The scary thing is, we’re most likely going to draft another 2nd round WR in April, because Calvin is the only real starter on the team right now.

    Starting in 2003, we’ve drafted Artose Pinner in the 4th round (gone), Kevin Jones in the 1st round (gone), Brian Calhoun in the third round (gone), Kevin Smith in the 3rd round (miraculously still on the team, I think), Jahvid Best in the first (probably gone) and Mikel LeShoure (3.7 YPC last year) in the 2nd round.

    That’s a lot of wasted draft picks in 10 years and we’re only talking about two positions.

  45. lionbackerdfw says: Mar 19, 2013 8:57 AM

    Calvin shouldn’t have to do anything. However, he is the best team player in the business. Watch specials on the guy. He doesn’t care about money. He doesn’t talk like most wide receivers. He never brags about how good he is. HE JUST PLAYS! The face of the franchise is not Matt Stafford (a good pick, been healthy for 2 full seasons now). Calvin is the franchise face.

    Suh is not overrated, just double teamed all the time. Cliff Avril should call Suh and thank him for the contract he got with SEA, b/c before Suh was there, Avril was a nobody. Teams double team Suh and Avril gets the open Door.

    Stafford, will get extended. Same for Suh. And not to bash on Calvin for anything, (the guy went 1200 yards and 12 TD’s in the 0-16 season. Who do you think threw Calvin the ball for 1900+ yards this season?

    Most #1 picks are busts after their 2nd season. Stafford is going into his 5th. 4000-5000+ yards a season. I’d take that #1. Its not J. Russel or Jake Locker or Blaine Gabbert.

  46. lionshawk says: Mar 19, 2013 7:07 PM

    Ok the pay the bonus forward move is not mortgaging the future. If anything it’s a smart move by Lewand,not Mayhew by the way, because it byes the Lions time. At some point in the near future the TV deal will be reworked and the salary cap is going to increase quite a bit. The Lions will have little cap room to move around at that time as other teams that didn’t draft as high as the Lions did prior to the rookie cap. The Lions will however get to keep these productive players instead of having to cut them now or surround them with mediocre talent and not achieve anything during their prime.

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