The Detroit Lions veterans are set to report to training camp in Allen Park, Michigan in a mere three days. Word from ESPN’s Chris Mortonson is that the Lions are “not optimistic” about their chances to re-sign defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh before the start of camp.
Lions are not optimistic about signing Ndamukong Suh to a new contract. He enters camp counting 22,412,500 against sal cap.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) July 24, 2014
Suh is in the final year of the contract he signed after Detroit selected him second overall in the 2010 draft. He is set to count $22.4 million against the cap in 2014, then will become an unrestricted free agent after the season.
The Lions also have the option of placing the franchise tag on Suh, however that would cost an exorbitant $26.7 million.
With the franchise tag not a realistic idea, the options for Detroit are either to come to an agreement and re-sign Suh now — or take their chances letting their best defensive player become an unrestricted free agent during the prime of his career.
The situation involving Suh’s contract has been perhaps the biggest story of the Detroit Lions offseason. Suh himself stated that “without question”, he wanted to stay in Detroit long-term. He also made it clear that there was no exact time-table on when a deal might get done.
“That’s why I see myself here in Detroit — being one of the cornerstones that gets this organization back to a championship level,” he said. “Like coach (Jim) Caldwell said, we’re not in a rebuilding year. We’re in a year of going to get a championship and that’s why I want to be here.”
Lions general manager Martin Mayhew originally hoped to have an extension wrapped up by the start of free agency. But then Suh fired his longtime agent, Roosevelt Barnes, and took a month to hire new representation.
Furthermore, Lions team president Tom Lewand, who handles most contract negotiations, Suh’s extension included, said he expected a deal to get done because both sides were saying they wanted one.
“Ndamukong has said he wants to stay. We want him to stay,” Lewand said. “Generally when you have those two things in place, you can get a deal.”
Suh says he wants to stay in Detroit long-term. The Lions say they want Suh long-term. Yet, it appears that it may not happen.