As we noted this morning, Ndamukong Suh‘s contract with the Lions voids today, the fifth day after the 2015 Super Bowl. Of course, that’s just a formality — Suh doesn’t immediately become available, and will still be able to negotiate only with the Lions for the next several weeks. But it’s the first step in the star defensive tackle potentially reaching the open market four and a half weeks from now.
Plenty can happen between now and then to keep Suh off the market, but the rumor mill is already starting to get active, as March 10 inches closer. Here’s the latest on one of the league’s top free-agents-to-be:
- The Lions have told the agent of at least one potential free agent defensive tackle that they do expect Suh to return, writes Dave Birkett of USA Today Sports. That may be far from a guarantee, but it is good news for those hoping Detroit can retain its top defensive player.
- It’s simply not feasible for the Lions to franchise Suh, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, who hears from sources that the 28-year-old is “highly, highly unlikely” to be tagged by the team. As I’ve noted in previous posts, a franchise tag for Suh would come in at nearly $27MM, which doesn’t even take into account the $9MM+ in dead money from his rookie contract that will count against Detroit’s cap.
- According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link), Suh – who grew up in the Pacific Northwest – would love to play for the Seahawks. However, that’s a “pipe dream” at this point, given Seattle’s cap situation and the club’s need to extend Russell Wilson soon.
- If he hits free agency, Suh will likely favor West Coast teams that are expected to be in contention in 2015 and beyond, says Cole. Of course, the teams with the most cap room generally aren’t contenders, but may be the most serious threats for Suh. Cole identifies the Raiders as one team that could “overbid” for the former second overall pick, since Oakland will have to start spending soon to meet the minimum salary cap threshold.
- Count Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson among those who would like to see Suh wearing silver and black in 2015. “I don’t think there’s a team in the NFL that wouldn’t want to see Ndamukong Suh on their team,” Woodson told Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. “I know I would be no different. That guy is one of the best, overall, period in the NFL. Would I like him on our team? Believe it.”