Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will count $22.4 million against the Lions' salary cap this season (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
It looks more and more likely the Lions will be unable to sign All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a long-term contract extension before training camp begins Monday.
According to an ESPN report Thursday, the Lions “are not optimistic” about reaching a new deal with Suh at all.
Suh, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft, will count $22.4 million against the Lions’ salary cap this season, and a new deal would give the team more room to sign any free agents that are still available.
Without a new deal, the Lions would have to sign Suh with the franchise tag next season or let him become an unrestricted free agent. The franchise tender would cost the Lions nearly $26.9 million, much more than Suh’s 2014 cap number, which would be a steep price even with the projected salary cap increase in 2015.
For Suh, there’s no rush to reach a new deal. The Lions worked around his exorbitant cap figure this offseason, signing free-agent receiver Golden Tate and safety James Ihedigbo. This remains a fluid situation, and Suh could wait to see how he likes new coach Jim Caldwell before committing to a future in Detroit.
Suh is in his prime, but at age 27, this is going to be his best chance to cash in with a long-term contract at a maximum salary.