Three and Out: Lions say timing of Suh re-signing doesn't matter

Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand says he doesn't care when it happens, just that getting defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to sign a contract does happen.

Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand had a message for Lions fans Monday night about contract negotiations withdefensive tackle Ndamukong Suh: Relax.

Gregory Shamus

FIRST DOWN

Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand says he doesn't care when it happens, just that it happens.

Many Lions' fans are a little more impatient. They would have preferred to see defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh sign a contract extension a month ago to lower his salary-cap hit for this coming season (currently $22.4 million) and free up some additional money to add more free agents.

Common sense, at least from afar, is that if Suh really cared that much about staying in Detroit and playing on a Super Bowl contender here, he would have signed by now to give the team financial flexibility to put more talent around him for 2014.

Since he hasn't signed that extension and could become an unrestricted free agent after the season, it's only natural to wonder what his intentions really are at this point.

The message from Lewand: Relax.

"It's been my experience over the years that when a player says he wants to be here and we indicate that we want to keep him around, we have a good track record of finding success (re-signing the player)," Lewand said Monday night during a meeting with season-ticket holders at Ford Field.

"When that happens (Suh re-signs), I don't know. It doesn't really matter. The timing is less important than the outcome. As long as the outcome is right both for Ndamukong and for us then I think he can be a part of the core of our team for a long time."

Asked if talks with Suh and his new agent, Jimmy Sexton, were more acrimonious than normal negotiations, Lewand answered, "I'd probably say they're more on the civil and productive side."

Lewand added that negotiations in general are "usually on the hostile side."

"In this case, not at all," he said.

He called Suh "a very intelligent guy, very thoughtful, he took his time selecting a new representative."

Lewand said that Sexton is "a very accomplished agent, somebody that I've had a relationship with for a couple of decades now."

"I have a lot of confidence in Jimmy," Lewand said. "I have a lot of confidence in Ndamukong."

SECOND DOWN

There' so much speculation these days about whether the Lions will trade up from their No. 10 pick overall to draft Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins.

Or could they even be in a position to take South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney?

Lewand and company weren't commenting on a report that Clowney, who might be the No. 1 pick overall, was scheduled to come in for a visit.

Watkins, who seemingly could go as high as second overall, already came to town and reportedly even met with vice chairman Bill Ford Jr. during the trip.

To some analysts, these moves indicate the Lions are indeed preparing to move up.

"We'll take a look at it," Sheldon White, the Lions' vice president for pro personnel, said when asked about the possibility. "We'll evaluate every scenario prior to and then we'll have some decisions, whether we want to entertain that or we want to stay put."

THIRD DOWN

Besides not being here while a new defensive scheme is installed during team meetings -- along with failing to show the leadership the Lions need from him -- Suh's absence over the last week from the voluntary offfield workouts raises another issue:

It seems to suggest that Suh, who always arrives at camp in excellent condition, thinks he can train better with his own people.

That's an insult to the Lions.

"When you talk about a player being able to be prepared to be the best he possibly can be, I am a firm believer that the absolute best place in the country, in the world to get better as a Detroit Lion is 222 Republic Drive in Allen Park, Mich., and that practice facility, Monday through Friday, with this group of men (the coaches) and their staff," Lewand said emphatically. "They are the best of the best in the coaching ranks."