Lions restructure contracts to clear cap space

LARRY LAGE AP Sports Writer Published:

DETROIT (AP) -- Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson says he restructured his contract to help the team keep some key players.

Burleson said Monday that he agreed to have his $4 million base salary for this year converted into a $3.125 signing bonus to save the Lions $2.17 million in salary cap space.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (en-DAHM'-eh-ken SOO') have reportedly reworked their deals as well to assist the team's efforts in free agency that starts Tuesday.

Detroit hopes to retain offensive tackle Jeff Backus, cornerback Eric Wright and linebacker Stephen Tulloch and to extend receiver Calvin Johnson's contract before he plays the final year of his deal in 2012.