NFC Notes: Suh, Bethea, Ware, Graham

Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is going to be the next player to break the bank, writes Joel Corry of the National Football Post. Suh is under contract through the 2015 season; however, that year is a player option, which Suh will likely decline. 2014, then, is effectively the last year of his current deal. If the Lions do not sign the star lineman to a new contract before next season, the franchise tag will probably not be an option, as his tag figure would be an untenable $26.87MM.

Suh has restructured his contract twice in as many years in order for the Lions to gain more cap space. An extension would serve the same purpose, as well as lowering Suh’s cap number, which is second in the league at approximately $22.4MM. The Lions are still feeling the effects of selecting high in the draft under the previous collective bargaining agreement, when rookie salaries were much higher. The rookie deals of Suh, quarterback Matthew Stafford, and receiver Calvin Johnson have put the team in an unenviable position. Extending Suh, as the Lions did with both Stafford and Johnson, would help to alleviate some of that cap strain.

More items from the NFC:

  • Safety Antoine Bethea could be an option for the Falcons, writes Vaughn McClure of The team is expected to release Thomas DeCoud, and has been linked to free agent Louis Delmas. Jairus Byrd could also be intriguing, but both he and Delmas might be too expensive for Atlanta’s tastes.
  • Demarcus Ware, due $26MM over the next two seasons, is too expensive to be traded, but he could brought back to the Cowboys at a lower salary, argues Todd Archer of in a recent mailbag.
  • Mike Triplett of believes the Saints’ Jimmy Graham is a tight end, writing that lining up in the slot is simply part of that position’s job description in today’s NFL. Triplett thinks the murky situation could be resolved with a long-term contract in excess of $10MM annually.
  • The Rams could add two quarterbacks to backup Sam Bradford, according to Nick Wagoner of Kellen Clemens could return, and the team figures to draft a quarterback somewhere in the third-to-fifth-round range.
  • In a mailbag segment, Bill Williamson of says receiver will be a priority in the draft for the 49ers, and singles out Oregon State WR Brandin Crooks as an option. He also writes that running back LaMichael James could be used more in the slot and on screens as the teams aims to get the speedy back more touches.
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