Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh still doesn't have an agent, meaning talks on a new contract with the Detroit Lions have not yet started. Even so, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is feeling pretty good about the situation at hand. We're less than three weeks away from the start of free agency, but Mayhew said on Friday that he expects the Lions to work out a new deal with Suh very soon. From MLive:
"Like I said before, I think this will get done on the eve of free agency, or eve of the start of the new league year, or sometime shortly after the start of the new league year," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said in a meeting with local reporters at the NFL scouting combine. "That would be a good time table for us."
The good news for the Lions is that they have enough cap space right now to make moves in free agency even without Suh getting an extension. Obviously lowering his $22.4 million cap hit for 2014 to create even more space would be ideal, but Mayhew made it clear that a new deal for Suh isn't a necessity in that sense.
Mayhew also made it clear that the Lions don't have any plans to trade Suh, at least not right now.
Mayhew hasn't given thought to trading Suh. "I anticipate we'll get something done. He said he wants to be here, we'd like him to be here."— Chris McCosky (@cmccosky) February 21, 2014
If Suh makes it absolutely clear that he isn't going to re-sign, the Lions could always change their mindset when it comes to potentially trading him. However, considering that a trade for Suh would only create $3 million in cap space this year, it really wouldn't be worth it. I can't imagine any team would want to give up anything of value unless they were assured that Suh would sign an extension, and giving away your best defensive player for $3 million in cap savings wouldn't be wise anyway.
The best-case scenario for the Lions would be to have an extension done before the start of free agency on March 11. This would allow the Lions to generate a bit more cap room, and it would also ensure that Suh remains in Detroit for the foreseeable future.