It turns out that the Detroit Lions didn't just restructure the contract of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to create extra cap room last week. According to Yahoo! Sports' Brian McIntyre, the Lions also restructured wide receiver Calvin Johnson's contract by converting most of his base salary for 2013 into a signing bonus.
Johnson was originally set to have a base salary of $5 million for 2013, but that number is now only $715,000. By converting $4.285 million into a signing bonus, the Lions freed up $3.428 million in cap space for this season. The money that was converted into a signing bonus will be spread over the rest of his contract.
What all of this means is that Johnson's cap hit for 2013 is now $8.772 million. Below, via McIntyre's report, are the cap hits for the rest of Johnson's contract:
The downside of any restructured contract is that it will increase a player's cap charge in the future years of the contract and Johnson's cap numbers in 2014-17 will now increase by $857,000 annually. Moving forward, Johnson has cap numbers of $13.058 million (2014), $20.558 million (2015), $24.008 million (2016), $21.357 million (2017), $17 million in 2018 and $18.25 million in 2019.
The Chicago Sun-Times' Sean Jensen reported on Monday morning that the Lions currently have $7.5 million in cap space. Could this mean that the Lions are preparing to make a run at someone like Elvis Dumervil or another high-profile player? Don't count on it.
Martin Mayhew confirmed that the Lions are probably done with the big name contracts in free agency. No big surprise there.— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) March 18, 2013
The Lions do have more than enough room to continue re-signing their own free agents, so perhaps deals for guys like Lawrence Jackson and Jason Hanson are coming soon.