The Detroit Lions may want to keep defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, but he won’t be franchise tagged by the team.
Detroit isn’t willing to pay the $26.9 million required to tag Suh, according to Tim Twentyman of the team’s official website. He wrote:
In the end, the Detroit Lions have determined that the franchise tag, at a price of $26.9 million, is just too expensive to spend on All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The Lions have declined to place the tag on Suh, which means he’ll become an unrestricted free agent and is free to sign with any club he chooses starting March 10. That could still end up being Detroit, but Suh is likely going to test the free agent market and assess his value, and is expected to have plenty of suitors.
One of the most dominant defensive players in the NFL, Suh will become the most sought after player in this year’s free-agent market.
Suh’s franchise tag would have been enormous because the Lions have previously restructured his rookie deal, resulting in his cap number last year being more than $22 million. Under NFL rules, a player’s franchise tag offer must be at least 120 percent of his cap number for the previous year.
ESPN’s Ed Werder expects a bidding war to take place for Suh, with they player likely to rival JJ Watt’s huge contract at Houston.
Suh finished 2014 with 54 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 21 tackles for loss and 37 quarterback hurries. He is one of the rare interior defensive linemen who can consistently get pressure on the quarterback, collapsing the pocket in the process. While the Lions may ultimately be able to keep him in Detroit, it is going to take a huge contract to keep him. That means the Lions are now likely crafting contingency plans, be it to replace him either in free agency or through the draft.
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