Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh settled on a new agent last week, a decision that opens the door to negotiations with the team about a contract extension that would lower his $22.4 million cap number for the 2014 season.
Reaching agreement on such an extension is seen as essential to the Lions’ plans in free agency because of the need for cap space in Detroit to make significant additions to the roster. According to Lions president Tom Lewand, though, extending Suh is something the team wants to do because they like him as a player not because they think they need to do it in order to fulfill their other offseason desires.
“An opinion that any one deal can make or break a plan doesn’t fit. There is no one deal that makes or breaks a plan. The plan is a lot more dynamic and has a lot more pieces than that,” Lewand said, via the team’s website. “It’s not impacting anything that we’re doing in free agency. It doesn’t impact our plan at all. It doesn’t impact what we’re getting ready to do when the league year starts next week.”
Lewand pointed out that people said the same thing about the need to extend quarterback Matthew Stafford early last offseason, when the Lions were in worse cap shape, and that the Lions added Reggie Bush and Glover Quin before getting around to addressing Stafford’s contract. Creative contracts helped then and they will help again this offseason, but any moves the Lions can make to get their cap into better shape in the short and long term are still ones they should be pursuing this offseason.