Constant speculation and criticism has been surrounding the Detroit Lions’ top defensive dog, Ndamukong Suh, this offseason. The team, in order to free up cap space and shed some weight off of Suh’s monstrous contract, continues to pursue talks of a contract extension. Most recently the talks between both Suh and the Lions have been “tabled” until the offseason.
The Lions organization overcame a similar scenario by extending franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford’s contract last offseason. The quarterback did not reach an agreement with the organization until early July of last year. The deal with Suh has become something much more complex than Stafford’s and here is why.
First, Ndamukong Suh is arguably a top five defensive player in the league. He’s a major athletic talent of monstrous size and a fierce approach and players fear him. Top five in the league is a pretty valuable ‘piece’ in terms of business, and Suh knows this. He knows what he’s worth and how much he costs, and he knows that he deserves the $22 million that’s owed to him this year.
Sure. It’s selfish. But would you want to sign a big contract extension with a team that has no guaranteed success in the future?
New coaches and players have joined this Lions team that let Detroit fans down in a train wreck of a season. This year, the team looks just as talented, if not more so, than last year’s team. Detroit can challenge for a division title this year, especially if Suh is staying right where he is.
But if the rest of the Lions don’t show up this year, you better believe Suh is packing his bags. He was not at minicamps and OTAs, but he showed up to training camp in terrific shape and ready to go. Suh is on the team’s good side despite what the media is feeding us, and that is because everybody on the team knows that Suh wants to win.
Would a top five defensive player want to become one of the greatest defensive players ever to not win a Super Bowl? I don’t think so. Suh wants to see where this team is heading, and if it’s not trending upwards quickly then he will be sure to find a place that is. Any team in the league will take Suh despite his ‘baggage,’ so don’t be surprised to see Suh put on different colors in 2015.
Chris Boggus is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports and featured guest on Lions Den.