The suspension of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has left the Detroit Lions vulnerable to at least a $50,000 fine from the NFL, based on new rules implemented this season to encourage an emphasis on player safety.
On Tuesday I checked into how the policy works, and here is what I came up with: Teams must pay the $50,000 when their players receive safety-related fines that total at least $100,000 after all appeals are heard and decided upon.
The maximum per incident is $50,000. Even so, Suh would account for $70,000 toward the Lions' adjusted team total when you add his $20,000 fine for a preseason hit on Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. Combined with the $37,500 in fines that four other Lions players received after the Week 10 game against the Chicago Bears, the Lions are already above the $100,000 mark.
Again, appeals and possible reductions might not be complete and the final numbers won't be tabulated until after the season. But the policy tacks on further team penalties if fine totals continue to escalate. If the total reaches $150,000, the Lions would owe another $25,000. Thereafter, they would have to match the subsequent fines totals.
Long story short: There is a good chance Suh will cost the Lions at least $50,000 this year. It could be more.