The NFLPA figures show Elliss has reduced his salary from $4.9 million to a base salary of $1 million. The deal immediately saves the Lions almost $4 million and gives Detroit more breathing room under the NFL imposed $71 million salary cap.
Elliss really had no choice in the matter. With two years remaining on his seven-year contract extension, Detroit could have held on to the veteran until June 1st and then released him. That would have deferred the brunt of the taking an acceleration of his salary bonus until next season.
While the move would have made Elliss an unrestricted free agent in a defensive tackle hungry market, it is unlikely he would have been able to sign for anything more than the veteran minimum of $775,000 (which counts only $440,000 against the signing teams salary cap for accounting purposes). That would have been a $225,000 net loss for Elliss, plus the fact he would have been forced to move away from his family, something he would not have wanted.
The new deal keeps in place his signing bonus and the next two years of his contract, but sources tell Lionsfans.com that unless the team and Elliss can agree on the terms agreeable to all parties, Elliss will be released early enough to make his own deal.