Lions Mailbag: Why not just franchise Ndamukong Suh?

Welcome to another edition of the Detroit Lions Mailbag, filled with all of your questions.

There's a lot of them this week, so let's get right to it. If you want to ask a question for the Mailbag, tweet with the hashtag #LionsMailbag, email me at michael.rothstein@espn.com or shoot me a message here on Facebook.

@mikerothstein: There are a few reasons, Jamie. The Lions have to weigh whether or not that is really in their best interests and if they can truly sign Ndamukong Suh to a long-term deal. If they believe he would be one-and-done in Detroit, then perhaps letting him go would be the best option unless Detroit thinks it only has a one-year window to win with this group. The other reason is to keep all potential bargaining chips on the table. It's better for the Lions not to tell Suh and agent Jimmy Sexton exactly what their plans are. It's like showing your hand in Texas Hold 'Em before the river card. There's no point.

@mikerothstein: This is a common question and I'm not totally sure what Detroit would do because I don't think it knows exactly what it would do at this point. If the Lions stay committed to a 4-3, then I'd probably re-sign Nick Fairley and either go after Denver's Terrance Knighton if he reaches free agency or possibly use a high draft pick on a tackle. But without Suh, the option exists for a move to a 3-4 and the Lions have the personnel -- sort of -- to make this move. DeAndre Levy and Kyle Van Noy could handle the outside linebacker slots -- with the potential of teaching an end on the roster to play in a standup 3-4 situation -- and Stephen Tulloch and Tahir Whitehead could be the guys in the middle. Either way, Detroit need to fill roster holes on the defensive line.

@mikerothstein: Possibly, although the thought is if Reggie Bush is going to get cut it would likely be a post-June 1 cut -- or designated as such. Drafting a running back in the first three rounds is a possibility for the Lions, although I'd maintain both lines are bigger needs, and finding a third receiver and a cornerback opposite Darius Slay could slide into that category. So many of Detroit's decisions are going to be dictated by Suh, including this one potentially. Here's another thing to consider: The Lions are not bringing back Dominic Raiola, and there's a chance that could be the start of a major reworking of the entire line, which could include more than Raiola and guard Rob Sims. That is one nugget I picked up over the past week.

@mikerothstein: Not much. Calvin Johnson's contract makes it difficult to deal him even if the Lions wanted to. Corey Hilliard and Kellen Moore are free agents. Jeremy Ross and Ryan Broyles don't have much trade value. Reggie Bush is on the downside of his career. Devin Taylor could have a bigger role this season, and Riley Reiff is going to be an important piece of the Lions' offensive line. That's a short answer for saying I don't think any of them are moved -- especially in a trade.

@mikerothstein: They'll say all the right things publicly -- and have -- but they shouldn't be content with Detroit's offensive performance this season. Yes, I'll give the Lions a small pass due to a massive amount of injuries, but the issues go beyond straight statistics. Some of Joe Lombardi's play calls were entirely predictable, especially on first downs. Taking Golden Tate off the field for plays was somewhat nonsensical. It's a strategy I understand with Calvin Johnson because of his injury history, but Tate has been durable in his career and showed little signs of injury. I'd expect there to be pressure on Lombardi to produce a more prolific offense in 2015, particularly with this group of players other than Matthew Stafford and Golden Tate starting to hit the other side of their primes.

@mikerothstein: A lot. They need offensive efficiency and to be more willing to take chances to create big plays. On defense, so much will depend on what happens with Ndamukong Suh. The Lions also need to figure out their return situation -- the team needs to find someone to either push or upgrade from Ross -- and also make sure they have a reliable kicker. It's tough to predict these things now because so much of the roster will be in flux, but Detroit has a wicked schedule in 2015 and improvements have to come for a second straight playoff appearance.