With the Lions tabling Ndamukong Suh’s contract talks until after the 2014, his future with the team instantly becomes one of the top stories surrounding the franchise.
Suh would like other employees of the franchise to not be asked about his future with the team.
“I would ask you guys to not bother my teammates about something that they have nothing involved in,” Suh told reporters on Monday. “So, for sure, I definitely don’t want them to have to answer any questions about it. It’s really a tough situation, more so for them. They have no clue, they’re blindsided or whatever it maybe is, as most people are blindsided about things that come out in the media, and that’s the way it is. So I’d ask you all not to ask them questions about it and let it be a distraction to our team. As I don’t think it will. It won’t be a distraction to me.”
Of course, they won’t be “blindsided” by questions about Suh’s contract because everyone knows that the talks are being tabled until after the season, which in turn increases significantly the possibility that Suh won’t be a Lion come 2015.
It could be that Suh doesn’t want his teammates to be asked about the situation because he doesn’t want them talking about it, on or off the record. By not doing a new contract, Suh accounts for more than 16 percent of the team’s total cap space. That’s money that could have been spent on other guys at other positions of need, like cornerback. In a room full of players having the ability to talk to a reporter under the condition of anonymity, it’s inevitable that someone would say Suh is being greedy.
The high cap number increases the possibility that Suh will leave in 2015 because the Lions could force him to stay only via the franchise tag, which under the rules would entitle him to a 20-percent raise on his 2014 cap number. Which would give him more than $26 million for one more year.
He’s not worth that much, and the Lions won’t pay him that much. But every offer the Lions make necessarily will be compared to the $26 million he’d get under a franchise tag the team will never use. Which means that the only way to determine his actual value will be to let Suh negotiate with other teams. Which increases the probability that someone else will offer more than the Lions, or that Suh will choose to go to a team that offers as much or less.
That’s the bottom-line in this one. With the Lions as a practical matter unable to use the tag on Suh and unwilling to negotiate further until the 2014 season ends, why should Suh do a deal with Detroit until he knows what someone else will pay?
Along the way, Suh hopes that his teammates: (1) don’t realize it’s likely his last year in Detroit; and (2) won’t say negative things about him when asked about his contract or anything else about Suh, such as the report from earlier this year that Suh has been uncontrollable, a contention that his teammates previously denied because that’s what good teammates do. If/when Suh’s teammates realize he won’t be a teammate beyond 2014, he may no longer get the benefit of that specific provision in the unwritten rules of team sports.