Back in February, Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew was quite optimistic about the chances of signing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a long-term deal. In fact, Mayhew was hoping to get the negotiations wrapped up in time for the start of the new league year.
Unfortunately for Mayhew, it's now the end of July and Suh still hasn't been signed to a long-term deal. Training camp is about to begin, and there haven't really been any updates on if negotiations have progressed at all between the two sides. That alone isn't a good sign, and it's especially not a good sign when coupled with this report from ESPN's Chris Mortensen:
Lions are not optimistic about signing Ndamukong Suh to a new contract. He enters camp counting 22,412,500 against sal cap.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) July 24, 2014
The leak of this information is probably a negotiating tactic of some sort, and it's entirely possible that the two sides could get something worked out in the immediate future. If they aren't able to come to an agreement, though, Suh will be entering his final season under contract with the Lions. Given that his cap number is so large for 2014, the Lions are going to be in a tough situation if he ends up becoming a free agent in 2015.
If Lions can't get Suh signed, his franchise tender would be $26.7 million in 2015 - or he becomes a unrestricted free agent in his prime— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) July 24, 2014
With the franchise tag not a realistic option, there is increased pressure on the Lions to get something done before Suh even has a chance to think about hitting free agency. Given that he has all of the leverage right now, it's probably going to take a massive deal to get something done, but from the Lions' perspective, I suppose that beats losing your best defensive player.