Lions hoping to sign Suh to extension

DETROIT — The Detroit Lions gave high-priced, long-term extensions to two of their best players the last two offseasons, and they hope to do the same with the final member of their big three this spring.

Lions President Tom Lewand said there is mutual interest in signing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a new contract.

Suh is entering the final season of his rookie deal — his contract voids five days after next year’s Super Bowl — and he has an exorbitant salary cap figure of $22.4 million next year.

“We have tremendous respect for Ndamukong, and I think we’ve expressed to him an interest in him in being here, and he’s expressed an interest in staying here,” Lewand said Wednesday, at the news conference to introduce new Lions coach Jim Caldwell. “We’ll see where that takes us and what the timing of that is.”

The Lions were in a similar situation in 2012, when wide receiver Calvin Johnson was entering the final year of his deal with a $21.1-million cap charge.

Johnson signed a seven-year extension with $53.3 million guaranteed in early March that year, which gave the Lions room to maneuver in free agency.

Last summer, quarterback Matthew Stafford signed a three-year extension with two years remaining on his deal and a $20.8-million cap figure.

Suh, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft, has said he’d like to stay in Detroit, but his deal could be complicated by his high cap number. The Lions can’t use the franchise tag on Suh in 2015 — it would cost a prohibitive $26.9 million to do so, a 20 percent raise over his 2014 cap number — and he has more than $9.7 million in other pending cap charges from previous restructurings.

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said there’s no timetable for getting a new deal done with Suh, who’ll make this third Pro Bowl appearance next week and is coming off, perhaps, the best season of his career.

“We’ve obviously got to sit down on all our free agents, and guys that (are) in Suh’s situation, with our coaching staff, and figure out what the next moves are, get their evaluation,” Mayhew said. “I think it’s important, and we’ve held off on some discussions. I’ve had some agents call me already about guys who are up or whatever, and I’ve said, ‘We don’t have a head coach right now, so we want to make sure that we’re doing things in tandem, in lockstep and that we’re collaborating on everything.’

“So I certainly have thoughts about a lot of our players, but I do want to involve our coaching staff and our coordinators, whoever they are, and our position coaches in all those kinds of decisions.”


Posted by Tribune News Services

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