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The Lions Restructure Contracts For Salary Cap Relief

Lions get cap relief as Stafford, Suh, Burleson restructure contracts | ProFootballTalk. This isn't big news, the Lions are over the salary cay because of the franchise tag they gave to DE Cliff Avril, and they have to get under it by tomorrow.

In what amounts to an accounting maneuver, they probably guaranteed Matthew Stafford's and Ndamukong Suh's 2012 salaries (as if they weren't going to get paid in 2012 one way or another), which saved "a significant amount" under the cap.

It's not been reported what Nate Burleson agreed to. His contract seems to be front loaded, so there probably wasn't much he could do to help. I don't think they'd save much (if anything) by releasing him, he's probably got a lot of guaranteed money deferred out to 2012-2014, but he hasn't been worth the $5 million annual salary they've paid him. He was ranked right below teammate WR Titus Young as the 56th best WR in 2011 according to Football Outsiders.

The Lions still haven't addressed the biggest contract in the room: WR Calvin Johnson. Not only is his 2012 figure an obscene $21 million, but they need to re-sign him before he becomes a free agent. They probably can't use the franchise tag either because it's 120% of his 2012 salary cap figure which equals $25.2 million for 2013. If he doesn't re-sign before the start of next season, there's a good chance he'll actually be a free agent next year.