Lions find (some) cap space for free agents


Another free-agent signing has most of you beating down my virtual door and demanding to know how a team that is tight against the salary cap can afford to make two signings -- first cornerback Chris Houston and now defensive tackle Jason Jones -- while also hosting two other premium free agents on visits.

I can finally bring you a partial answer there. Although there has been little progress in extending the contract of quarterback Matthew Stafford ($20.8 million cap figure), the Lions have gained space by restructuring the contract of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, according to Mike O'Hara of the Lions' web site. Suh was counting $18.2 million against the 2013 cap, and the guess is the he converted most of his $11.55 million base salary to a signing bonus that could be pro-rated over the duration of his deal.

I don't know if that's enough to cover Jones, running back Reggie Bush and safety Glover Quin, should the latter two agree to contracts as well. But it's worth noting the Lions don't need to create the cap space until the deals are officially signed and submitted to the league.

The arrangement almost certainly will put the Lions and Suh into a position similar to Stafford now and receiver Calvin Johnson last season: With a sky-high cap figure that almost certainly will require a long-term contract extension to lower. We'll deal with that next year at this time.

Meanwhile, Jones was the lowest-profile player of the free agent trio visiting the Lions on Wednesday. He has played both defensive end and defensive tackle in his career with the Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks, and the Lions could have two openings at defensive end. With that said, however, NFC West colleague Mike Sando notes that Jones is at his best as an interior pass rusher. As Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times wrote, Jones was placed on injured reserve last season after struggling with after-effects of knee surgery. A physical was part of his visit Wednesday.

I know you all want to know what will happen with Bush and Quin. I'll let you know as soon as I hear, probably first on Twitter (@espn_nfcnblog).