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Lions “Very Optimistic” About Re-Signing DT Ndamukong Suh

Lions GM Martin Mayhew said on Wednesday that he’s “very optimistic” they will be able to re-sign free agent DT Ndamukong Suh at some point.

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 last night that the Lions plan to meet with Suh’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, at the Combine.

Birkett mentions that the two sides are likely to ramp up contract negotiations during their meeting, but there will be other interested teams in Indianapolis.

NFL teams are not allowed to speak to any free agent or their agent until three days before the start of free agency. However, the Combine is the start of the tampering period, so can expect that Sexton will have a decent idea of who’s interested and what Suh’s market will look like in the coming weeks.

Detroit can, of course, do the same thing and see what options they have available either in free agency or in the draft.

The problem for the Lions is that it would cost them $26.87 million to apply the franchise tag to Suh. On top of that, Suh can use free agency 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.

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.