Report: The Lions have looked into trading DT Ndamukong Suh

Would Detroit be willing to get rid of Ndamukong Suh? (USATSI)
Would Detroit be willing to get rid of Ndamukong Suh? (USATSI)

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The Lions are exploring trading standout defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, according to Bleacher Report.

Suh hasn't attended the start of Detroit's voluntary offseason workouts and he'll make a base salary of $12.55 million this season (and will count $22.4 million against the 2014 salary cap) -- and because he's considered a team leader (as well as one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL), this has struck some in the organization as disappointing.

Or, at least, a little bit curious, especially as the team tries to get integrated with a new coaching staff. NFL Insider Pat Kirwan explored the idea of trading Suh a few months ago -- Kirwan concluded that it might be a good idea -- and now, Detroit reportedly is talking to teams about doing exactly that.

As Mike Freeman writes, the discussions are preliminary and not necessarily serious. They're more due diligence than anything else and in Freeman's words the Lions are "covering their asses."

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, though, says a Lions official told him that the team is "uneqivocally" not trading Suh and that there have been no trade discussions.

But the idea that these chats are happening -- or that somebody somewhere wants us to think these chats are happening -- shows that Detroit isn't completely sure that Suh is in its future plans.

"What the Lions are doing is standard operating procedure," one team executive told Freeman. "Just in case they don't think they can sign him, they're preparing for worst case. It's smart."

Signing him won't be cheap, and it might not be easy either.

As former NFL agent Joel Corry writes, a franchise tag for Suh in 2015 would cost about $26.87 million, and that gives Suh plenty of leverage to land a friendly long-term extension with Detroit if the Lions want to keep him.

If not, they'd be letting go of a high-impact player when he's in his prime (Suh turned 27 in January).

That's why a trade, if it can find one, might be the best option for Detroit and its salary cap situation. Especially since, as Freeman writes, the team is still worried about Suh's on-field self-control.

But more than that, it's telling that Suh has decided not to show up with his teammates for offseason workouts.

More from Freeman:

"Suh is a captain beginning with a new coaching staff. This would have been the perfect time to make a positive impression on his new bosses. Instead, he decided to stay home. It's irrelevant that he could still show up to mini-camp or training camp in shape. It's more about leadership. He's a captain, and captains are usually the men who set the examples."

Whether Suh can be a leader who ultimately gets a huge payday with his current team remains to be seen. 

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