Ndamukong Suh In Line For A Record Setting Contract

Chris McCosky of the Detroit News writes that with Lions DT Ndamukong Suh holding all of leverage in contract talks with the Lions, there’s now question that he will end up being the highest paid player at the defensive tackle position soon enough.

Earlier this week, Detroit released veteran WR Nate Burleson and S Louis Delmas, but according to McCosky, the Lions wouldn’t have enough cap space to sign their draft picks, even after they parted with these players.

As things stand right now, Suh accounts for $22.4 million of the team’s 2014 salary cap and represents the easiest source of cap saving on the Lions roster. However, the Lions can’t force him to rework his contract and agree to an extension that would reduce his cap figure to some more in line with his respective position.

Andrew Cohen of Overthecap.com points out that even if the Lions were to allow Suh to play out his contract, they would still be left with $9,737,500 in dead money for the 2015 season after Suh’s contract voids on the 5th after the Super Bowl.

McCosky wouldn’t be surprised if Suh surpasses the contracts five-year, $55 million deals recently signed by Geno Atkins and Gerald McCoy by a significant amount.

Cohen also expects Suh to secure a “massive annual salary” that will will top his $12.94 million per year average included his current contract. Cohen adds that Suh’s next deal may include a staggering $25 million signing bonus.

Suh, 27, is in the prime of his career, a three-time Pro Bowl selection and is without a doubt one of the best defensive players in the game. It’s hard to imagine that he could have any more leverage in contract negotiations than what he currently has.

If the Lions are able to reach an agreement on a contract extension at some point this offseason, they are going to have to set the bar extremely high.



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Clearly Suh has lots of power in this negotiation, but I must be missing something. Look at a no-negotiate standoff from Suh’s point of view. Suh gets a salary of (only!) 12 million this year. And can’t the lions place a franchise tag on him in 2015? Then he gets about 10 million (if that) for 2015. Now Lions negotiate. Lions take a 22 million cap hit for 2014 and they might lose Suh, But Suh never gets the money he could have gotten by negotiating now.

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It’s true that the Lions could use their franchise tag on Suh in 2015. The leverage comes from the fact that Detroit almost no cap space to work with this year, and Suh represents the easiest source of cap relief on their roster. The Lions have already publicly stated that retaining Suh is a priority, so it would still make sense for them to work out long-term deal that would manage his future cap figures instead of doing nothing this offseason and then carrying another huge ca figure in 2015 due to the franchise tag. Detroit can still pay him… Read more »