Should the Detroit Lions trade star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh before the 2014 NFL Draft, especially if they are going to be unable to lock him up to a long-term contract? Suh is arguably the team’s best defensive player, if not one of the most dominant forces in the league. He is a beast. He is a game changer. He is an impact player in the prime of his career. So, why is it even possible that the Lions could be exploring trading Suh?
Because, for all of his positives on the field, Suh also comes with many flaws. He is a beast, a game changer and an impact player. He is also a problem. He is a distraction. He is not stepping up to be a leader on a team with a new coaching staff in dire need of finding one, especially on the defensive side of the ball. He has been suspended, multiple times. He often plays with reckless lack of control that costs his team.
With that being said, the Lions will likely go one of two ways.
Reportedly, Detroit is still hoping to sign its top defensive standout to a long-term contract extension. Suh will make a base salary of $12.55 million in 2014, although his hit against the cap will account for $22.4 million this season. If the Lions were to slap the franchise tag on Suh in 2015, it would cost them a total of approximately $26.87 million. That means that Suh will have the leverage in negotiations with Detroit, a fact that he will be well aware of when discussing his future.
Therefore, the Lions could look to trade a player who is dominant, yet also at times a hindrance. Detroit will have to weigh all of its options going forward, and look at the pros and cons of either keeping or trading Suh. On one hand, the team may feel that it cannot afford to lose him. On the other, the Lions may also find that they simply cannot afford to keep him going forward.
One possible scenario could be to shop Suh to a team that fails to land a top defensive star in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft on May 8. The Atlanta Falcons have been rumored to be looking to move up to No. 1 to select Jadeveon Clowney, provided the Houston Texans feel that they could still draft a player who can provide immediate help at No. 6. If that deal does not work, perhaps the Lions could call the Falcons to gauge their interest on acquiring Suh, who may not be a bad fall-back option.