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Lions Restructure Deals Of Matthew Stafford, Nate Burleson, Ndamukong Suh

With the new league year a day away and the 2012 NFL salary cap going into effect at the same time, the Detroit Lions have finally started making moves to clear some space. They were reportedly $11.55 million over the cap as of this past weekend, so it was necessary to make some adjustments to contracts in order to work to get below $120.6 million, which is the cap number for 2012.

Rather than cut players to get under, the Lions are creating space by restructuring contracts, at least for now. Quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Nate Burleson and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh all had their deals restructured. Here's more from Dave Birkett:

Suh's agent declined to share the specific details about his client's contract, but he did say that a "significant amount" is involved. The change in his contract is expected to be made today after the Lions send out paperwork for it.

The downside to restructuring deals (by converting base salaries to signing bonuses) is that the money gets spread out over the rest of the contract. While it saves money for this year, the cap hits for future seasons will go up. Hopefully by the time the Lions have to deal with that the cap number will have gone up more than it did this offseason and they will have more space to start with.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.