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Lions table contract talks with Ndamukong Suh until after season

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The Detroit Lions have decided to table contract talks with Ndamukong Suh until after the season.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions were unable to reach an agreement on a long-term deal with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh before the start of training camp. The hope was that something would be worked out before practice began, but that didn't end up being the case, and now negotiations are on hold. Lions president Tom Lewand announced just minutes before the first practice of training camp that the Lions decided to table contract talks with Suh until after the season, meaning there will not be a new deal for Suh until 2015 at the earliest.

Clearly, the Lions and Suh didn't come all that close to reaching an agreement. If a deal were close, I'd imagine the Lions would be willing to continue negotiating in order to get something worked out. Instead, Suh is headed into his final season under contract with the Lions, and unless the two sides work something out next offseason, he will almost certainly become an unrestricted free agent. Lewand didn't close the door on using the franchise tag on Suh, but considering that would cost the Lions nearly $27 million, it's not a realistic option.

The fact that the Lions have come right out and announced their decision to end the negotiations for the time being is not a good sign for their chances of re-signing Suh. Lewand is still optimistic that something will be worked out down the road, but this is a clear sign that the two sides are not close to a deal. I don't necessarily think it's a sign that Suh doesn't want to stay with the Lions beyond 2014, but clearly the two sides have differing opinions on what he should be paid going forward.

If nothing else, 2014 just got even more important for Suh. If he continues to play at the level we've seen in recent years, he will command a massive contract in 2015 -- either from the Lions or another team. But if he struggles at all or suffers a serious injury, his value could take a hit and complicate future negotiations with the Lions. 2014 was already an important year for Suh, but with negotiations on hold, it's even more critical for him to have a strong season.