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Report: Detroit Lions restructure Tracy Walker’s contract, create $5 million in cap space

A look at what Tracy Walker’s contract restructure may look like and what it means for Detroit Lions free agency.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, our own Erik Schlitt broke down eight different options for the Detroit Lions to create more cap space by restructuring the contracts of different players. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Lions followed his advice, adjusting Tracy Walker’s deal to create reportedly $5 million in cap space.

In the example that Erik provided the Lions cleared just under $4 million in cap space by converting his $8.95 million in salary into a $7.95 million signing bonus and a $1 million salary. That lowered Walker’s cap hit from $11.3 million to $7.3 million, while raising his cap in 2024 from $10.3 million to $14.3 million.

So how did the Lions get an extra $1 million in cap space? Since the details aren’t out, we have to speculate and the best guess is that they added at least one voided year to the deal. In other words, let’s say they convert $7.5 million of his salary into a signing bonus and spread it out over three years instead of the two remaining on the contract.

This is potentially how the old and new deal looks like:

Old deal:

2023:

  • $8.95M salary
  • $2.3M prorated bonus
  • $50,000 workout bonus
  • Cap hit: $11.32M

2024:

  • $7.95M salary
  • $2.3M prorated bonus
  • $50,000 workout bonus
  • Cap hit: $10.32M

Theoretical new deal

2023:

  • $1.45M salary
  • $4.82M prorated bonus ($2.32M existing bonus proration + $2.5M of new signing bonus proration)
  • $50,000 workout bonus
  • Cap hit: $6.32M

2024:

  • $7.95M salary
  • $4.82M prorated bonus
  • $50,000 workout bonus
  • Cap hit: $12.82M

2025 — Voided year

  • $2.5M dead cap from a prorated signing bonus

Here’s an at-a-glance overview:

As you can see, the total cap hits of both contracts are even, but this restructure simply kicks some of the money toward the back and spreads it out over an extra year.

Now, what will the Lions do with the extra cap space? And are there any other restructures down the line?

Hat tip to Erik Schlitt for helping check the math and creating the image

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