Lions, Nate Burleson agree to restructured contract
Nate Burleson’s commitment to the team worked its’ way up into a restructured deal for the 11-year veteran, which would allow him to return with the Detroit Lions next season.
Despite his $4.5 million base salary next season, Nate Burleson’s pay check was expected to count $6.5 million against the Detroit Lions’ salary cap – the fourth-highest mark on the roster. Nate Burleson was also expected to make $5.5 in 2014, which would have cost the Detroit Lions a salary cap hit of $7.5 million.
The Detroit Lions have been actively clearing cap space this offseason. Earlier, the Detroit Lions freed about $8.5 million in salary cap room by releasing defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, guard Stephen Peterman and wide receiver Titus Young. The Detroit Lions also reworked the contract center Dominic Raiola's contract. The moves would allow the Detroit Lions a little more spending power when free agency opens this March.
Although the Detroit Lions recently counted only about $6 million over the 2013 salary cap, the team still has to rework the contract of quarterback Matthew Stafford to avoid a $20.3 million salary cap hit. Mathew Stafford is scheduled to make $12 in 2013, $11 million in 2014 and $15 million in 2015. On the current contract, his cap hit for the last two years stands at $19.3 million and $17.7 million respectively. It is crucial the Detroit Lions rework his contract to free up money to re-sign impending free agent pass rusher Cliff Avril.
The former third-round pick Nate Burleson ended the season on the injured reserve after breaking his leg just six games into the 2012 season. But his importance increased for the Detroit Lions, who need depth at their receiving corps following the Titus Young fiasco and after rookie Ryan Broyles underwent surgery for an ACL tear that he suffered last December. The Detroit Lions don’t have a clear player on the depth chart after standout receiver Calvin Johnson; unless you count tight end Brandon Pettigrew.
The 31-year-old Nate Burleson played 36 games while posting 155 balls for 1,622 yards and 11 touchdowns in three seasons since he signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Detroit Lions during 2010.
Nate Burleson is currently rehabbing from the leg surgery while preparing for the upcoming season.