Ndamukong Suh was never returning to Detroit Lions

Ndamukong Suh was never returning to Detroit Lions

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Ndamukong Suh was never returning to Detroit Lions

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Bobby’s been on hiatus lately, grinding and trying to make that loot, but he’s back with this little exclusive about another big name who is working toward big(ger) numbers in his bank account: Ndamukong Suh.

As you know, Ndamukong Suh signed the largest contract for a defensive player in NFL history a couple weeks ago, inking with the Miami Dolphins a six-year, $114 million deal with $60 million of that fully guaranteed. You could buy a lot of NFL tickets here with that money. A lot. And a few Super Bowl tickets.

Suh leaves behind in the dust the Detroit Lions, the team which drafted him No. 2 overall in the 2010 draft and hosted the House of Spears for five remarkable, albeit controversy-filled, seasons. He helped turn one of the NFL’s worst defensive fronts into one of the league’s most intimidating and best. The Lions made the playoffs with one of the NFL’s best overall defenses and Suh was the anchor — on the Lions and preventing opposing offenses from moving — so naturally the perpetually futile franchise made it their priority to keep the big man around.

Detroit made a late $102 million pitch around the start of free agency, about $2 million less per year than what Suh ultimately signed for, and Detroit’s $58 million guarantee was about $2 million less than Miami’s $60 million. Detroit claims they didn’t want to go higher.

For weeks, though, the Lions’ franchise confidently and very publicly said they expected a deal with Suh to get done, that he wanted to return and that the Lions were willing to do whatever it took. There was even a report after Suh’s deal with Miami was as good as done that the Lions were still holding out hope.   False hope at its most pathetic proportions, like every weekend in the fall/winter of 2008.

The Lions come off looking like complete idiots in this whole ordeal, and the two guys running this operation are the two who were promoted after the 0-16 season, team president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew.

These two clueless clowns not once but twice restructured Suh’s contract in an effort to “win now” (Lions won 22 of 48 games) and thus, caused his cap hit to balloon by franchise tag time a few weeks ago. Instead of opting to tag Suh and reluctantly take the $27 million single-season blow created by restructuring his contract, they decided to gamble negotiations and ultimately a bidding war… with a player who pretty much made it abundantly clear he was going to take the most obscenely lavish offer presented to him.  And throughout, the Lions displayed delusion by dropping quote after quote to the media that they were sure Suh was coming back. Nope. Now Suh will be playing in the AFC — and he’ll still cost the Lions nearly $10 million against their cap.

Beyond the restructures, the failure to tag Suh and the failed negotiations, which made it almost fiscally impossible to re-sign Suh, let’s be real: Suh was never really going to return to Detroit anyway.

Suh claims that he thought he was going to re-sign all along until it broke down late, at which point he didn’t know what happened (when the Lions backed out of the bidding). That’s classic PR speak, though; Suh soccer-style kicking the can down the road to the Lions to explain themselves, who would’ve had a lot to explain anyway. The writing was on the wall 2.5 years ago:

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She suggests in the replies that she’ll be changing young people’s lives at that time. Cool, that may be true, but she knew it wouldn’t be in Detroit. Her bio is and always has been, “I am my brother’s keeper” and it’s well known among Bobby’s people that she has never wanted her brother in Detroit, and it didn’t help that he soon got labeled as dirty to coincide with many lazy litigious people’s perceptions of the city itself. I don’t doubt that Suh, for the most part, enjoyed Detroit and its fans, but Suh’s controlling sister is a very big reason why he ultimately signed with another team.

The biggest reason? Money, of course. Suh and his sister are ultimately about dat brand and dat dough. The Lions franchise tag was never a likely outcome given the cap hit from previous restructures (and in fear of ‘holding hostage’ their best defensive player, who wanted to hit the open market if he didn’t get the largest deal for a defensive player) and the Lions were never going to be the highest bidding team once Suh hit free agency because of previous restructures, and Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford.

There’s more to it, but that’s enough to chew on for now.

Leave us your insider thoughts in the comments below.

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