The Lions have continued their cost-cutting efforts this offseason by agreeing to a restructure with veteran center Dominic Raiola on the final year of his four-year, $20 million contract, according to a league source.
Financial details weren’t immediately known, but it’s likely the contract is not guaranteed.
Raiola, 34, was set to make $4 million in base salary and count a little more than $6 million toward the 2013 salary cap.
The team has already lopped $8.5 million off next years cap with the release last week of Titus Young, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Stephen Peterman.
Those moves put the Lions under the expected $121 million salary cap for 2013 and Raiola’s restructure gives them even more flexibility to improve the roster when free agency begins March 12.
Raiola was drafted by the Lions in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft and has only missed four games over a 12-year career. He’s started every game at center over the last four seasons.
General manager Martin Mayhew said after the season that the Lions allowed too much interior pressure, which contributed to some of Matthew Stafford’s struggles at quarterback. The main culprits were Peterman and Raiola.
Raiola will potentially have to compete with Bill Nagy, 25, who was claimed by the Lions in August. Nagy started four games at left guard for the Cowboys as a rookie in 2011 and was competing for time at center last year before an ankle injury and subsequent surgery ended his season and resulted in his eventual release.
The Lions will also continue to look at options in both free agency and April’s draft to improve upfront, but Raiola’s return does keep a veteran presence in the locker room and the meeting room.
Tags: Dominic Raiola
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 17 Comments »