Mike O’Hara of DetroitLions.com takes a look at some of the roster decision the Lions will need to consider before the 2014 league year is officially underway.
According to O’Hara, addressing the contract of DT Ndamukong Suh is atop the Lions offseason priorities list.
Suh, 27, still has two years remaining on his current contract, but with the Lions projected to be over the salary cap next year, they will need to free up some cap space in order to retain some of their free agents while filling other roster holes.
As of now, Suh is projected to count $22.4 million against the team’s 2014 cap, according to Overthecap.com, which is a truly incredible figure for someone who doesn’t play quarterback. Detroit could easily get that number down to something more manageable with a contract extension that prorates guaranteed money over the course of multiple years.
O’Hara expects the Lions to get an extension worked out with Suh before the start of free agency on March 11.
Suh should be able to beat Geno Atkins‘ six-year deal worth $56.4 million contract that included $31 million guaranteed and come close to $40 million guaranteed.
O’Hara mentions that RB Joique Bell is familiar with new Lions HC Jim Caldwell from their time together in Indianapolis.
Bell, 27, will be a restricted free agent this offseason, and while O’Hara believes he could garner some interest from other NFL teams, Bell would prefer to return to Detroit next year.
O’Hara expects the Lions to tender Bell at the second-round level, which would almost certainly prevent anyone from signing him away from the Lions.
- O’Hara expects the Lions to approach veteran WR Nate Burleson regarding another pay cut, assuming that the Lions new staff is even willing to keep him in the first place.
- O’Hara lists: TE Brandon Pettigrew, C Dominic Raiola DE Willie Young, as other players the Lions could approach regarding possible extensions.