The Lions have created some breathing room under the cap by restructuring Golden Tate‘s contract, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter). The simple restructure was completed several days ago in order for the team to be cap-compliant when the season began, tweets Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap.
As Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets, the Lions converted $3.005MM of Tate’s $3.75MM salary for 2015 into a signing bonus, which will now be prorated over the remaining four years of his deal. The move reduces Tate’s base salary for this season to the minimum $745K, and creates about $2.25MM in cap room.
As Over the Cap’s data shows, the Lions are among the NFL teams closest to going over the cap in 2015, so reworking Tate’s deal gives the team a little flexibility to get through the season. The move will also increase Tate’s cap numbers by about $751K for each year from 2016 through 2018 — his cap hit will jump to over $7MM in ’16, $8.35MM in ’17, and $9.35MM in ’18.