The Lions have initiated talks with star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh about locking him up long term, Kyle Meinke of Mlive reports.
Suh has two years remaining on the rookie contract he signed in 2010, though the final year is voidable. That means Detroit has total control over him for only 2014.
“We have tremendous respect for Ndamukong. We’ve expressed to him an interest in him being here, and he’s expressed an interest in staying here,” Lions president Tom Lewand said Wednesday at a news conference to announce Jim Caldwell as the team’s new coach.
“We’ll see where that takes us and what the timing of that is. He stopped by today to see Coach Caldwell and I think he’s another guy who can benefit from the leadership Jim is going to bring and from the staff.”
Locking up Suh long term would be in Detroit’s best interest, and not just from a performance standpoint.
Suh’s cap number in 2014 already is an astronomical $22.4 million — $1 million more than expected because he was named to the Pro Bowl, which is a performance escalator — but that could be mitigated with a restructuring and extension.
If he were to walk after 2014, Detroit would still be hit with $9.7 million in dead money. In other words, Suh would be a cap burden in 2015 even if he doesn’t play for the Lions.
And Detroit can’t stop him from walking by slapping the franchise tag on him, either, because that would cost an unreasonable $25.7 million.