Back in 2013, the Detroit Lions signed linebacker DeAndre Levy to a three-year extension worth nearly $10 million. At the time, the move wasn't actually received all that well, as many people believed that the Lions should have re-signed linebacker Justin Durant instead.
Since then, Levy has proven to be worth much more than his average salary of $3.25 million a year. He may not have been recognized as a Pro Bowler the last two seasons, but Levy has played at that high of a level, and he's really played a big role in the emergence of the Lions defense. Last season especially, Levy became one of the Lions' biggest leaders and one of their top overall players.
Because he got a three-year extension just two years ago, Levy still has one season left on his current contract. He's not set to become a free agent until 2016, but the Lions may not wait until next year to sign him to another extension. Instead, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew admitted that extending Levy this offseason might make sense. From the Lions' official site:
"I spoke with (Levy’s) agent a couple days ago," Mayhew said of early extension talks for the talented linebacker. "It may make sense. It may not. I’m not opposed to it. Obviously, I want him to be here for a long time, but we’ve obviously got some other big fish in the pen right now."
One of the other big fish in the pen that Mayhew is referring to is defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Before any other major moves can happen, the Lions need to figure out if Suh is going to be franchised, signed to a long-term deal or departing for a new team after free agency opens. Once that domino falls, the Lions can address other priorities, such as signing Levy to a contract extension of his own.
The good news for the Lions is that there's really no rush with Levy since he is under contract through next season. Getting his contract extended at some point this year would certainly be nice, but the Lions can take their time with those negotiations since he has a year left on his current deal.