Delaying Suh talks not good for Lions

No matter the spin Detroit Lions president Tom Legwand and general manager Pete Mayhew want to give it, postponing contract talks with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh until after the season is not good news.

In fact, the chances they’ll be able to sign the soon-to-be free agent Suh have taken a turn for the worst.

Both Legwand and Mayhew express optimism Suh wants to stay with the Lions and vice-versa.

But money talks and performance talks. Suh may demand more money than the Lions are willing to pay, while the club may not want to pay big bucks for an underachieving Suh.

The 6-4, 307-pounder recorded just 5.5 sacks in 16 games last season. Over 62 games in his four-year NFL career, Suh has posted 27.5 sacks, an average of 6.8 a season.

But that’s counting a personal high of 10 his rookie season. Since then, he has 17.5 sacks over 46 games, a 5.8 norm per season.

OK numbers, but not good enough if you want to be paid among the NFL’s elite defensive tackles.

Sun seemingly gains more attention for his on-field antics than his production.

Maybe in tabling contract talks with Suh, the Lions want to give him a message they need more out of him if he wants to secure a mega-deal.

That could backfire, of course. Suh could be angry the Lions aren’t paying him what he wants and will bolt the club for greener pastures.

The Lions could slap a franchise tag on him next year and keep him in a Honolulu blue jersey.

But at a reported cost of $27 million in salary, plus another $9.7 million from earlier restructured contracts, the club is not likely to spend that kind of money on Suh, especially when there will be other on-field needs to address.

All the Lions would get if Suh doesn’t sign is a compensatory third round draft pick.

Perhaps Suh will turn in a banner season and the Lions will pay him accordingly.

There’s a better chance Suh will shine than the Lions will reward him with a big contract, especially with the lucrative long-term deals the club has reached with quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

Don’t count on Suh in a Lions’ uniform after this season.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is cremsburg@miningjournal.net.