Lions clear cap space with reported restructure of Jamie Collins' contract

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

In an effort to clear much-needed cap space, the Detroit Lions are restructuring the contract of linebacker Jamie Collins, according to the NFL Network. 

Collins, who signed a three-year deal last offseason, was never a realistic candidate to be traded or released ahead of the start of the new league year given the remaining deal money on his deal ($11.7 million) exceeded his 2021 cap hit $11.3 million. 

Jamie Collins

A simple restructure converts a portion of a player's base salary, in Collins' case $8.8 million, into an immediately paid bonus. For cap purposes, that bonus is then spread across the remaining years of the contract. 

Collins, 31, still had two years on his deal, but according to the NFL Network, at least one voidable year is being tacked on to the end of the contract. It's a common strategy to reduce the ability cap hit.

It's unknown how much of Collins' salary is being converted into a bonus, but it can be lowered all the way down to $1.075 million, the veteran minimum for a player with his experience. 

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If the Lions take Collins' salary to the minimum, paying him the remaining $7.7 million as a bonus, that would clear nearly $5.2 million off the cap this season, assuming a voidable year is added to the deal. 

That adjustment would also raise the dead money on Collins' deal from $2.3 million in 2022 to $7.5 million, with his projected cap hit going up from $12.3 million to $14.9 million next season. 

Along with the impending release of cornerback Desmond Trufant, that means the Lions have potentially cleared more than $11 million in space this week, ahead of the start of the new league year on March 17.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers