So I spent some time on ProFootballTalk.com's live radio show Wednesday afternoon because Mike Florio is a friend and he pays me tons and tons of money (zero) to appear.
And it was interesting that the topic of Ndamukong Suh and his contract restructure came up. That is an important topic because Suh is scheduled to count $28.6 million against the cap this league year. That's quite high. And the Dolphins, who need to make some cap room so they can work free agency aggressively (and they will be aggressive, I've been told), can turn that scheduled $28.6 million cap hit into a more palatable $10.5 million cap hit by simply restructuring Suh's.
As I've written before, the way this is done is by converting up to $22.7 million of Suh's $23.4 million base salary in 2016 into a new and guaranteed signing bonus before the start of the league year March 9. Doing that adds to the prorated portion of Suh's cap number in 2016, '17, '18, '19 and '20. It effectively raises his cap numbers in 2017-20 by $4.5 million each year.
But it lowers Suh's cap number this coming season by over $18 million.
As you read Tuesday, club executive vice president Mike Tannenbaum said the Dolphins will definitely look at doing this and no final decisions have been made on the subject.
But let me be clear: The Dolphins were looking at this possibility the day they signed Suh.
Indeed, Florio argued with me that Suh giving his permission for the club to convert his guaranteed salary to a guaranteed bonus may not make sense for the player unless he gets something else in return. So that got me to thinking. And that got other people to thinking.
And we looked at Suh's contract. And it turns out Suh has already agreed to the restructure at any time of the Dolphins choosing.
Paragraph 33 of Suh's contract handles this issue under the term "Automatic Conversions."
It reads: "Player and Club agree that on one or more occasions and at any time during the duration of this contract, club shall have the option to convert a portion of player's 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and/or 2020 Paragraph 5 (base salary) into signing bonus, subject to forfeiture only for the league year of such converted compensation. Player and club agree that an email an/or phone call from the club to the player or player's certified agent shall suffice to notify player that club is exercising its rights under this paragraph and will make such a conversion, the amount thereof and the effective date of the conversion."
So, again, the Dolphins and Suh have already agreed to a restructure. It is just a matter of the team pulling the trigger.
Something they will nearly definitely do by March 9.