Calvin’s retirement gives Lions $11M more for 2016

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
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Calvin Johnson grabs a TD pass against the Eagles in November.

Calvin Johnson is officially retiring from the NFL, and that means the Lions will have more cap space.

Although it’s unclear exactly how the Lions and Johnson settled the remainder of his contract, the team will have at least an extra $11 million to use in 2016.

In the team’s announcement of Johnson’s retirement, it said in regards to his contract that those “matters were settled to the satisfaction of the parties.” Multiple Lions officials and Johnson’s agent Bus Cook haven’t returned calls and messages seeking further explanation.

The star wide receiver had a base salary of $16 million and a cap hit of $24 million for next season. Even though Johnson is retiring, he’ll still count $13 million against the salary cap in 2016.

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Bonuses from previous restructures as well as Johnson’s signing and option bonuses total about $13 million, which is why the Lions will still be on the hook for that dead money this year.

The Lions can also collect $3.2 million of his signing bonus that they’ve already paid. However, even if Johnson gives that money back, the team likely wouldn’t receive a cap credit until 2017.

With Johnson retiring, the team now has about $41 million available with free agency starting Wednesday at 4 p.m.

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