In the last two offseasons, the Detroit Lions have signed wide receiver Calvin Johnson and quarterback Matthew Stafford to long-term extensions worth a lot of money. Johnson's new deal was completed last March, and the Lions just made Stafford's new deal official on Wednesday morning.
With Johnson and Stafford under contract for the foreseeable future, the Lions can now turn their attention to the next player who is in need of an extension: defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
Because the final year of his deal can and will be voided, Suh is really only under contract for two more seasons. He is set to become a free agent after the 2014 season as a result, and considering his cap hit for next year is $21.4 million, the Lions won't be able to use the franchise tag unless they are fine with paying him more than $25 million in 2015.
Basically, the situation with Suh is similar to the one the Lions were just in with Stafford. Restructuring Suh's contract in the past has led to him having a massive cap number in 2014, and the franchise tag isn't a realistic option to retain him. Suh obviously isn't the Lions' franchise quarterback, but it's still important for them to ensure he is in Detroit well beyond 2014.
Back in May, Suh talked about the possibility of signing a long-term deal with the Lions. Specifically, he said that he's "two years away from even considering those things." He also said that he would "love to be here in Detroit," indicating that he is open to the idea of signing a long-term extension with the Lions.
It remains to be seen how the Lions will approach Suh's deal considering training camp is almost here. My guess is that they will wait to really start negotiating until next offseason, but I suppose they could elect to at least start the process sooner rather than later. Extending Suh is not only important because he is one of the most talented players on the team, but the Lions really need to make sure he doesn't go into the 2014 season with a cap hit of $21.4 million.