As in before March. Before the start of this free agency cycle, where Suh’s $22,412,000 cap number for 2014 becomes a giant albatross for Detroit as it tries to bring in more talented players and construct the team how new coach Jim Caldwell would like it to be.
Knocking Suh’s number down would go a long way to opening up more space to possibly sign some mid-range price range free agents, much like the Lions did last season in bringing in running back Reggie Bush and safety Glover Quin -- two of the team’s better offseason acquisitions.
Of course, keeping Suh around helps on the field as well, as he has been one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the NFL. Teams routinely scheme around him, sending double teams at him almost every play.
Having Suh as one of the defensive anchors, much like having Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson on the offensive side, can attract other players to the Lions. It is as simple as good players want to play with other good players, especially in football, where the only way a team can be successful is by having top players at as many positions as possible.
So getting a deal done would be helpful for the Lions on multiple levels. It would open up cap space. It would tie Suh to Detroit. And it could give the Lions freedom to perhaps pursue higher-level free agents at cornerback, safety and wide receiver, three areas where the team needs the most help.
The biggest question about the actual deal is whether the team can come to terms with Suh, who would be a valuable commodity on the free agent market if he tested it out. That is what he and his camp need to weigh -- the value of keeping themselves in the same place long term versus a potentially bigger payday elsewhere. That is a decision the Lions' front office needs to figure out as well. How much is too much for Suh, and how critical are defensive tackles in Teryl Austin's new defensive scheme.
Those two factors will almost certainly play into any negotiation from the team's side of things.
Both Tom Lewand and Martin Mayhew have said in the past two weeks that there is mutual interest in keeping Suh. Suh told MLive in May that the Lions are “an organization I love being a part of and playing for.”
How much longer he’ll be doing that will likely be seen within a few months.