How the Detroit Lions would move on without Ndamukong Suh

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Ndamukong Suh appears closer to leaving the Detroit Lions, and for anyone who has been paying attention throughout his contract saga, it always appeared to be heading this way.

Once the Lions called off talks with Suh before training camp and once Suh essentially declined to talk about his contract status, everything started to point to the same conclusion colleague Adam Schefter reported early Sunday: Suh is preparing to leave Detroit after the season, and the Lions also are preparing for that possibility.

Also note the teams that would be interested in Suh, according to Schefter's report: either New York team, Chicago and Dallas. Three of the biggest markets in the United States for the NFL, and as for the Giants, Bears and Cowboys, three of the Cadillac franchises of the NFL.

While Suh has deflected any sort of talk in the past about making a move to one of these places, it makes sense, since any of these teams would greatly enhance his marketability.

And if the Lions end up without Suh beginning in 2015, it leaves them with some interesting options. The first would be to consider re-signing Nick Fairley, who has been playing consistently throughout the first month of this season, but is also a player whose inconsistency led Detroit to decline his fifth-year option in the first place.

Another is to possibly switch to a 3-4 defense -- something that has long been speculated -- especially since Tahir Whitehead appears to be emerging, giving the Lions a potential linebacking corps of DeAndre Levy, Stephen Tulloch, Whitehead and Kyle Van Noy in the near future.

Considering the Lions have flirted with multiple looks so far this fall, this option would seem to be a real possibility.

The third would be to go through free agency and the draft and target defensive tackles. This might be the most maddening option for the Lions because they could have selected former Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald with the No. 10 pick in May’s draft and instead chose Eric Ebron.

But one thing is certain should Suh’s departure come to pass: The Detroit defense will look a lot different than it has at any point this decade.