The moment Detroit Lions fans feared has finally come. Chris Mortensen has reported that the Miami Dolphins have set parameters to sign Ndamukong Suh when the free agency period opens on Tuesday March 10th. The terms of the deal are expected to be 6 years, $114 million with $60 million guaranteed. Albert Breer is reporting that the Detroit Lions had offered Suh a 6 year deal with $58 million guaranteed. The difference between the Dolphins deal and the Lions offer though is the yearly numbers. Detroit’s offer would have been roughly $17 million per year, whereas the Dolphins deal is worth roughly $19 million per year.
The Detroit Lions did their part in offering a competitive deal for their best defensive player, but they were simply outbid by the Dolphins for Suh’s services. While losing their best defensive player hurts, the Lions will be better off without that contract on their cap. They currently have $17 million in cap space to spend, and that should be plenty of money for them to make additions through free agency.
The expectation is for the Detroit Lions to push for re-signing Nick Fairley now, and if they can get him for a reasonable deal, they will also look to add a defensive tackle in free agency and the draft. The loss of Suh will definitely sting, but if the Detroit Lions can sign a quality defensive tackle in free agency, retain Fairley for less than the $5 million per year he would have gotten on his option that the team declined to pick up last offseason, and add a defensive tackle in one of the first two rounds in the draft, they will be in decent shape on the defensive line with plenty of money remaining to patch holes in both the secondary and offensive line.