Detroit Lions: If Ndamukong Suh Leaves, Who is to Blame?


With the Detroit Lions taking the franchise tag off the table in their quest to retain Ndamukong Suh, the possibility that Suh will not be with the Lions in 2015 is an even greater possibility. Suh is undoubtedly a player the Lions, and most fans, want to keep long-term so there is sure to be a blame-game if Suh ends up signing elsewhere.

Where to assign blame is an interesting question, one posed by Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson shortly after news broke that the Lions would not use the franchise tag on Suh.

The quick easy answer is to blame Suh. After all, the Lions were prepared to enter into major talks on a long-term deal during the combine last February but Suh was without an agent. Suh was in no hurry to settle on a new agent after firing Roosevelt Barnes. But it’s not that simple, or one-sided.

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The Lions pinned themselves in a corner by alleviating salary cap issues in a way that gave Suh all the leverage in negotiations. Suh’s 2014 cap number, the number by which his franchise tag value was set, ballooned as a result of two restructures the Lions did free up cap space in 2012 and 2013. The Lions could have guaranteed Suh’s return in 2015 had their own practices not made that option overwhelmingly expensive.

Suh’s tag still would have been expensive, but it would have been much more manageable, at least to the point that it would have given them some leverage in working out a long-term deal. Yes, old CBA rookie deals proved to be a disadvantage, but the Lions made their choice in how to deal with it and are now facing one of the big consequences.

As a premier player at his position, it is Suh’s right to hit the open market to seek the biggest contract he can get. Maybe it turns out the Lions are the team to give it to him, maybe they aren’t.

Ultimately, maybe everyone deserves some blame. Maybe no one. What do you think?

Next: Suh's Next Contract Might Not Be So Groundbreaking

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