Calvin Johnson restructures contract, creates $3.4 million in cap space for the Lions

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

Ndamukong Suh was not the only high-priced member of the Detroit Lions who agreed to restructure his contract last week to help the team free up some room under the salary cap.

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Suh's renegotiated deal created $7.68 million in cap space. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, wide receiver Calvin Johnson agreed to a minor tweak in his contract that has created nearly $3.5 million in cap space for the Lions in 2013.

Johnson was scheduled to earn $25 million in cash compensation this season, including a $5 million base salary and a $20 million option bonus, and he will still earn that much money as the renegotiation took place after the Lions had already picked up the option bonus.

Instead, and as "Shutdown Corner" suggested would happen in our "TPS Report" series, the Lions dropped Johnson's base salary down to $715,000, the league minimum for a player with six accrued seasons, and converted the remaining $4.285 million into a signing bonus that will be prorated over the next five seasons. The renegotiation lowers Johnson's 2013 cap number from $12.201 million to $8.773 million, a savings of $3.428 million in 2013, more than enough to absorb the Johnson-approved signing of free agent running back Reggie Bush, who has a $2 million cap number in 2013.

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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.

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