As the Steelers continue their now-annual game of salary-cap limbo, their 2011 and 2013 MVP has done the team a favor.

The favor, of course, doesn’t require much of a sacrifice. In lieu of collecting a total of $6 million in game checks from September through December, Brown took most of it right now.

The restructuring, first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, creates $4 million in cap space. The actual number, assuming that the Steelers maximized the ability to convert salary to signing bonus by reducing Brown to the minimum base salary for his level of experience ($715,000), comes out to $3,963,750.

Under that approach, Brown gets $5.285 million now. The bonus money gets spread over the final four years of his current contract. At $1,321,250 per year, the signing bonus nudges a total of $3.96 million into future cap years.