The Detroit Lions very much would like to extend the contract of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Apart from wanting to keep him around for the long term, a new deal would undoubtedly drop his cap number of $22.4 million in 2014.
On Monday, team CEO Tom Lewand said that the talks have been civil and productive. The farm more preferable adjective would be “completed.”
Still, Lewand says there’s no hurry.
“Ndamukong is a very intelligent guy, very thoughtful,” Lewand said, via the Detroit News. “He took his time selecting a new representative and he [hired] Jimmy Sexton, a very accomplished agent in his own right. I have a lot of confidence in Jimmy and I have a lot of confidence in Ndamukong.
“It’s been my experience that when a player says he wants to be here and we have indicated we want to keep him around, we have a good track record of getting something done. When that happens I don’t know. The timing is less important than the outcome.”
The best window for getting a deal done comes between now and the start of 2014 training camp. At that point, Suh assumes the injury risk for the last year of his deal. And once he starts assuming injury risk, he may decide to assume a full season of injury risk and force his way to the open market in 2015, since the Lions would have to offer him a one-year deal worth 120 percent of his 2014 cap number under the franchise tag.
That would be $26.88 million. And that would mean the tag wouldn’t be used on Suh.The real question becomes what Suh wants in exchange for giving up the chance to hit the open market in 2015. If he wants more than the Lions are willing to pay, 2014 could be his last season with the team.