The Lions didn’t apply the franchise tag to defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh due in large part to the very large cap number he’d have in 2015: $26.9 million.
In 2016, Suh’s cap number with the Dolphins will be even larger than that.
Based on the official contract numbers, which show a signing bonus of $25.5 million and a fully-guranteed 2016 base salary of $23.485 million (along with a $15,000 workout bonus), Suh’s cap number will be $28.6 million in the second year of the deal.
That number easily could be reduced by a simple restructuring. If, for example, $22.485 million of the base salary becomes a signing bonus in 2016 (reducing the base salary to $1 million), $17.98 million in cap space would be created. Of course, that cap burden would apply to the remaining four years of the deal, driving up the cap numbers down the road.
The total cap numbers for the Suh contract are: $6.1 million in 2015; $28.6 million in 2016; $15.1 million in 2017; $22.1 million in 2018; $24.1 million in 2019; and $18.375 million in 2020.
The first three years of the contract are fully guaranteed, but since $15,000 per year is tied to a non-guaranteed workout bonus, the full guarantee technically is $59.955 million, not $60 million.