Houston Texans Pro Bowl defensive end J.J. Watt became the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL last year when he signed a six-year, $100 million contract. Earlier this month, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh surpassed Watt with a six-year, $114 million contract with the Miami Dolphins.
Why is this relevant?
Well, this week Watt restructured just one year into his record-setting agreement. According to ESPN's Field Yates, Watt converted a $10 million roster bonus into a signing bonus to free up $8 million of cap room for Houston.
The move might be a prelude of what's coming down the pike with Suh's monster contract with Miami in the coming years. Suh is projected to have very high cap numbers of $28,600,000 in 2016, $15,100,000 in 2017 and $22,100,000 in both 2018 and 2019.
Similar to Houston's situation with Watt, Miami may need to restructure Suh's cap figures in order to create the necessary space it takes sign other good players and be competitive. The Texans had to do it with Watt after one year. Therefore, it won't be shocking if the Dolphins have to do the same with Suh in 2016 or beyond.
The difference between the two situations is Watt's money went from one type of bonus to another. Much of Suh's money after this year is in base salaries, which also can be moved into bonuses that Suh would get upfront.
All of this doesn't mean much for the Dolphins today. But Watt’s restructuring certainly provides a potential blueprint that Miami may need to follow with Suh in the future.