According to Birkett, the Lions were actually over the salary cap by around $200,000 and had to get under the cap by tonight’s deadline.
With this in mind, Detroit lowered Tate’s base salary of $3.75 million to the veteran minimum of $745,000 and converted the balance into a signing bonus.
This move reduced Tate’s cap figure from $5.4 million to $3.1 million and in turn created $2.1 million in cap space.
Tate, 27, is in the second year of his five-year, $31 million contract that included $13.25 million guaranteed. He stands to make base salaries of $4.75 million (2016), $6 million (2017), and $7 million (2018) over the remainder of the contract.
In 2014, Tate appeared in all 16 games for the Lions and caught 99 passes for 1,331 yards receiving and four touchdowns.