Lions create $5.5 million in cap space thanks to Nate Burleson, Dominic Raiola

Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

The Detroit Lions reportedly saved a total of $5.5 million by restructuring the contracts of Nate Burleson and Dominic Raiola.

The Detroit Lions created $5.5 million in cap room by restructuring the contracts of wide receiver Nate Burleson and center Dominic Raiola, according to Dave Birkett. Their deals were restructured earlier this month in an effort to give the Lions more flexibility with the salary cap, and $5.5 million is a pretty significant savings.

Raiola's new base salary for 2013 is close to the veteran's minimum, but it turns out it's a little higher than originally reported. Birkett reports that Raiola now has a base salary of $1 million, and his cap number is $3.012 million. His salary is down from $4.05 million and his cap number is down from $6.06 million.

Burleson now has a base salary of $2 million for 2013. Before restructuring his deal, he was set to earn $4.5 million. This pay cut takes his cap number from $6.531 million down to $4.031 million.

With the extra $5.5 million, Birkett has the Lions at a total of $113.9 million right now. If the salary cap ends up being around $123 million, this gives them about $9 million to work with. They will have to set some of that aside for restricted free agent tenders and the draft, but that's a pretty good amount of space considering they were over the cap at the start of the month and they haven't even gotten Matthew Stafford a new deal yet.

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