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Saturday, July 31, 2010
Crunch time for Lions, Ndamukong Suh

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

The Detroit Lions had multiple conversations Saturday with the agents for defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, but they did not reach an agreement in time for Suh to participate in the Lions' opening practice of camp.

Suh was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, and the No. 1 (Sam Bradford) and No. 3 (Gerald McCoy) have reached contract agreements. So if negotiations don't conclude sometimes this weekend, we'll know that a bigger gap remains than simply waiting for the players on either side of Suh's slot to set the market.

Bradford received $50 million in guarantees, while McCoy got $35 million. That $15 million gap is pretty substantial, even considering the "quarterback premium" Bradford received, and it gives Suh's agents some wiggle room if they choose to haggle for the final dollar.

Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com reports that Suh is seeking more guaranteed money than Bradford, arguing he was bypassed as the No. 1 overall pick only because the St. Louis Rams didn't want to pay a defensive tackle so much money. If that's the case, we're going to be in for an extended holdout. I can't imagine a scenario where the Lions would agree to those terms.

Speaking to Detroit reporters Saturday, Lions president Tom Lewand seemed optimistic that a deal was within reach. He said he planned to have at least one more conversation with agents Roosevelt Barnes and Eugene Parker before the end of Saturday and added: "As long as we're talking, we're making progress and we continue to talk. We are very, very focused on trying to get a deal done."

Stay tuned.