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Lions GM Martin Mayhew ‘very optimistic’ team will re-sign Ndamukong Suh

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Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said on Wednesday that he believes the team will be able to re-sign Ndamukong Suh before the superstar standout defensive tackle hits the free agent market.

Speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine, Mayhew, who previously stated that the Lions would consider using the franchise tag on Suh — which would cost the team $26.9 million — appeared confident that the possibility of signing Suh to a new deal while avoiding such a financially nuclear option is realistic at this time.

“It’s not done,” Mayhew told reporters, via Shutdown Corner. “Still very optimistic we’ll be able to get it done.”

The general manger noted the team has no problems paying Suh what he is worth, which presumably means any new deal would make Suh one of the highest-paid defensive lineman in football, saying the organization is “willing to make that commitment to Ndamukong.”

Mayhew understandably wouldn’t discuss specifics regarding any possible deal — the “essential elements” are in place, he said — but his comments give every indication that the team is much closer to signing Suh to a new deal than it has at any time up to this point.

“Very optimistic we’ll get something done,” Mayhew said. “I don’t have a timetable on when it’s going to happen, but I feel good about it.”

To make Suh the highest-paid defensive tackle in the league, the Lions will have spend a boatload of money. The current top-earning tackle in the NFL is Gerald McCoy of Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who signed a six-year, $95.2 million deal with team last season, per spotrac. McCoy’s record deal includes $51.5 million in guaranteed money with an average annual salary of nearly $15.9 million.

In other words, to retain the services of Suh, the Lions are going to have to pay through the nose, although still far less than the $26 million placing the franchise tag on the star would cost the team. No matter which team Suh ends up with — rumors have been floated previously that he could be interested in both the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks — one thing’s for certain: He’s going to get paid … big time.

(photo credit: AP)