The Detroit Lions made it a point to get star wide receiver Calvin Johnson signed as soon as the season came to an end. It took a lot longer than many figured it would, but Johnson did have a year remaining on his rookie contract, so the team wasn't in any immediate danger of losing him. They ended up signing Johnson for eight years - through 2019, which is a little different from the initial reports.
Initially, it was said that Johnson was signed to a seven-year extension, which would imply that Johnson would play out 2012 on his rookie deal, but Tim Twentyman cleared things up on Twitter:
Lets be clear that this is a new 8-year deal through 2019. Johnson will not play out last year of rookie deal.— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) March 14, 2012
That really does make sense, given just how productive Johnson is and the fact that his new deal is the richest in NFL history in regards to guaranteed dollars, with $60 million overshadowing the other marks handily. In getting so much guaranteed money, the Lions were able to give him less salary in 2012 so they can shift some cap around, saving around $9 million in space while still, as they put it: "paying the man."