Lions restructure two contracts

DETROIT -- 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.

"I told them I'd do whatever it took," Burleson said in a telephone interview. "I'm still in a great position financially and I don't have to worry about the threat of them getting rid of me. It was just another confirmation that I made a great decision to come to Detroit."

Quarterback Matthew Stafford also restructured his contract, which carried a 2012 cap hit of over $17 million. The team announced on its official website that Stafford also converted the majority of his $11.5 million base salary to bonus.

Between Stafford and Burleson, the Lions have given themselves an additional $10 million in cap space, according to the Lions' official website.

The agent for defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh told FoxSports.com that Suh has also agreed to rework his deal to assist the team's efforts in free agency that starts Tuesday. Roosevelt Barnes told FoxSports.com that Suh's cap relief will be "a significant amount."

Detroit is hoping 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.

The Lions created some more cap space by releasing tight end Will Heller, an unsung player in their potent offense. The 10-year veteran has also played for Tampa Bay, Miami and Seattle.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.