“As my experience with these things is, there’s no such thing as close,” Mayhew said, via the Detroit Free Press. “Either it’s done or it’s not done. There’ve been a lot of deals where we felt like we were really close, like it was right around the corner, it was going to get done, and it never happened. And there’ve been a bunch of deals we’ve felt like we were miles apart, there was no way we were going to get it done, and then the deal got done. So there’s no close in negotiations. Either you have a deal or you don’t.”
Mayhew did say that team president Tom Lewand has had “extensive dialogue” with Suh in recent weeks.
As for the possibility they could use their franchise tag on Suh, Mayhew said that he’s “not leaning any way.”
“I’m not leaning any way,” Mayhew said. “It’s not something we have to decide right now, so I’m not inclined to make that decision.”
This comes just a day after Lions GM Martin Mayhew said that he is “very optimistic” about retaining the Pro Bowl defensive tackle.
“You have to make a serious financial commitment to him and we’re ready to work that out with him,” said Mayhew.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported earlier in the week that the Lions will meet with Suh’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, at the Combine and the two sides are likely to ramp up contract negotiations.
Detroit could always use their franchise tag on Suh to prevent him from fielding offers from other teams, that would come with a prohibitive cost of $26.87 million.
Suh can use franchise tag as leverage in talks, which means Detroit will have to pay him market value salary, and possibly more to get him under contract before March 10.
There are several cap-rich teams that are likely to throw big money at Suh, so it will be interesting to see how he balances a huge contract with the opportunity to compete for a Super Bowl title.
Suh, 27, is arguably the best available player in this year’s free agent class and should set the bar for defensive linemen when all is said and done.
In 2014, he recorded 51 tackles, 8.5 sacks and three pass defenses over the course of 16 games. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 3 defensive tackle in the league.
We have Suh ranked as the No. 2 player in our Top 50 – 2015 Free Agents List.