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Philip Rivers restructures San Diego Chargers contract

Philip Rivers restructured his contract, converting $5 million of his base contract into a signing bonus, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday. Bryan McIntyre first reported the news.

Rivers' restructure frees up salary-cap space for the San Diego Chargers, but it doesn't lower the $12 million the quarterback will earn this season. The Chargers now have $12.76 million in cap space, according to Rapoport.

Converting Rivers' base salary to a signing bonus frees up cap space in 2013, but it will bump up the hit to the Chargers' cap over the remainder of the contract (through 2015).

The timing of the restructure is interesting, as freeing up money on the eve of the season would indicate a move that might require cap space.

In other contract news, Earl Bennett took a $1 million pay cut this week, Rapoport reported. The Chicago Bears wide receiver was on the roster bubble as he came back from a concussion. Bennett was due $2.25 million and now will earn $1.25 million. The pay cut likely kept him from being released.

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