NFC North: Roosevelt Barnes

OK, stand down. One of Ndamukong Suh's agents has contacted ESPN's Chris Mortensen to assure him they are not seeking more money than the No. 1 overall pick, Sam Bradford, for their client.

Agent Eugene Parker acknowledged that Suh's market is set between Bradford and the No. 3 overall pick of the draft, Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, and added that he hoped to strike a deal with the Detroit Lions soon.

There was never a chance of the Lions paying Suh more than the $50 million guaranteed that Bradford received. Once again, the question returns to how Parker and fellow agent Roosevelt Barnes will navigate the $15 million gap in guarantees between Bradford and McCoy. Suh will get something in between, but it's not entirely clear yet where the common ground will fall.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen is the latest reporter to suggest that the agents for unsigned Detroit Lions rookie Ndamukong Suh are seeking more money than the player selected ahead of him in the 2010 draft, quarterback Sam Bradford.

The numbers Mortensen reported are staggering -- six years, $90 million with $56 million in guarantees -- but likely represent a negotiating tactic rather than a hard-line from agents Roosevelt Barnes and Eugene Parker. As we discussed Saturday, it's difficult to imagine the Lions paying Suh more than the quarterback premium Bradford received.

What probably has created some wiggle room for Suh's agents is the large gap between Bradford's total guarantees ($50 million) and that of the No. 3 overall pick Gerald McCoy ($35 million). Stay tuned. The Lions have two practices Sunday, at 9 a.m. at 3:15 p.m.
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.

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