Ndamukong Suh is headed to the Miami Dolphins where he’s expected to sign a six-year, $114 million deal after 4 p.m. on Tuesday when free agency officially begins.
The Lions made him an offer that would have made him the NFL’s highest paid defenseman, but the Dolphins offered more.
Five things I think:
1. All along, everyone knew that it was going to be difficult to keep Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford and Suh for the long run. You can’t have three of the highest paid players at their positions and still afford to field a winning team. That was addressed in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement with limits on rookie contracts.
2. Was asked this morning if the Lions are now the laughingstock of the NFL. I don’t see that at all. They made an offer that would have made Suh the highest paid NFL defenseman. Miami just outbid them.
3. The Lions can now look at filling the holes at defensive tackle. Nick Fairley is likely the next focus. Others are out there too including C.J. Mosley who had eight starts last season. Also on the market is Kendall Langford who visited the Lions last week after being cut by the Rams. Look for them to sign Fairley and another veteran defensive tackle and then draft one or two.
4. Now the Lions have a little breathing room and can go after other free agents. Besides defensive tackle they need help on the offensive line, a cornerback and a running back.
5. Replacing Suh on the field will be harder than off the field. He just was not the best leader — he didn’t show up for voluntary workouts, he seemed to keep to himself. For a second overall pick, he just didn’t seem like captain material. Others on defense who stand out as leaders include Stephen Tulloch, James Ihedigbo, Glover Quin and Rashean Mathis (who hasn’t signed yet).