We're just a couple days away from the official start of summer. The Detroit Lions essentially began their summer with the conclusion of their offseason training program last week, and they are now off until the start of training camp at the end of July.
As summer vacation officially begins for the Lions, here are three storylines worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks:
1. Ndamukong Suh's contract situation
There hasn't been any real news about the status of the contract negotiations between Suh and the Lions. They want to sign him to a long-term deal to get him under contract for 2015 and beyond and to free up some extra cap space for 2014. Suh, meanwhile, has said publicly that he wants to stay in Detroit, but a hometown discount or something along the lines of that is highly unlikely.
If Suh and the Lions are going to agree to a long-term deal, chances are it will happen in the next month or so. Last year, for example, Matthew Stafford officially signed his extension with the Lions on July 10. With Suh, I'm sure the Lions would prefer to have negotiations wrapped up before training camp, so what happens in the coming weeks could tell us a lot about if he will be a Lion beyond the 2014 season.
2. The free-agent market at cornerback
Since Chris Houston was released last week, there has been speculation about what the Lions' next move might be at cornerback. They could simply go into training camp with what they have and hope for the best, or they could sign a free agent like Terrell Thomas or Brandon Flowers to add some additional depth. They could also decide to stand pat for now and reevaluate the situation after camp begins like last year, when they brought in Rashean Mathis in mid-August.
In any case, nothing seems set in stone at cornerback at this point for the Lions. I don't believe that they will sign Flowers, but Thomas seems like he could be a nice under-the-radar addition if the Lions want a bit more experience at the position. I know they're hopeful about the progress that Darius Slay has made, and Mathis was their best cornerback last season, but there's definitely a need for more proven talent at the position.
3. Injury report
Several players missed part or all of the Lions' mandatory minicamp last week, including running back Joique Bell, wide receiver Golden Tate and defensive end Ziggy Ansah. They were held out for precautionary reasons more than anything, but it's important for them to get back to 100 percent health in time for the start of training camp. You don't ever want to go into training camp with key contributors sidelined with injuries, and that's especially the case with a new coaching staff still installing its new schemes.
At the same time, it's important for players who are currently healthy to stay healthy during this break. The last thing the Lions need is for someone to tear an ACL or something like that. They don't need their injury list to grow before training camp even starts, so unless it involves good news about a player's recovery, the hope is that all will be quiet on the injury front going forward, at least until practice begins in July.