Monday, May 5, 2014
Lions have no choice but to keep Suh
By Michael Rothstein
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions' front office seems to desperately want to keep Ndamukong Suh in town.
They've said as much since the start of the offseason and indicated he wants to stay, too, even if many of his actions since the team hired Jim Caldwell have indicated otherwise. Suh, after all, is not at voluntary workouts -- something explained away by general manager Martin Mayhew and some teammates as what Suh typically does.
And it is Suh who switched agents and didn't hire another one until right before the start of free agency, meaning the team couldn't negotiate to lower his $22.4 million salary-cap number entering the final year of his contract.
This was all a part of the lead-in to Monday afternoon, when Mayhew addressed rumors about Suh without even being asked a question about the defensive tackle. At his pre-draft news conference, Mayhew said the Lions have no interest in trading Suh, have not engaged in discussions about trading him and that Suh is a part of their plans.
Of course he is a part of their plans. This is a team that wants to win now -- has a mandate to win now. And unless the Lions get a major offer in the next few days, Suh is going to remain in those plans.
Mayhew couldn't really say anything else. If he says the team is trying to trade Suh, he loses leverage with potential partners and also could change the tenor of negotiations with Suh and his agent, Jimmy Sexton.
Mayhew has to say the team isn't interested in trading Suh. But Mayhew, like any general manager, certainly would listen if a team came to him with an offer. He just might not be the one out there pursuing a move.
But don't expect a trade to happen. The Lions have too much invested in their marquee defensive player to not make a concerted run at keeping him in Detroit for the next few years. The bigger question is how much Suh wants to remain a Lion.