It's finally here. A week from now, the Detroit Lions -- and the rest of the NFL -- will likely know exactly where Ndamukong Suh will be playing in 2015 and beyond. So the culmination of a process that has been going on for over a year is about to come to a long-awaited conclusion.
We chat about that and more in this week's Lions Mailbag. Remember, to ask questions for the Mailbag you can use the #LionsMailbag hashtag on Twitter, hit me up on my Facebook page here (and you should follow anyway) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now on to your questions.
@mikerothstein: There are a lot of different options and strategies here, Mark, and I'm going to cover some of them Monday in a separate post on the blog. But in looking at the market right now, corner is an intriguing spot with Byron Maxwell and Buster Skrine being names to watch. Of course, the Lions could just bring back Rashean Mathis with a draft-and-tutor plan for 2015 like they had with Dominic Raiola and Travis Swanson last season. Offensive line is intriguing since the team could make moves on the interior and at tackle depending who is available. Wouldn't be surprised if the team tried to pick up inexpensive players at receiver and running back as well. Defensive tackle is the obvious need there, and while I'd make a run at Terrance Knighton, I don't know if the Lions would do that. If Miami ends up with Suh, I'd make a call to Jared Odrick really fast to see if he'd be interested and try to pair him with another mid-level tackle and go from there.
@mikerothstein: I don't have a "favorite," but I've been pretty high on Boise State's Jay Ajayi for a bit and think he could be a good fit for Detroit for multiple reasons. First, he has the capability of being an all-purpose back in terms of rushing and a receiving threat. He also has extremely good feet honed from years of playing soccer. Secondly, he could end up as a possible replacement for Joique Bell down the road. Ajayi isn't a Reggie Bush-type player, but the Lions don't necessarily need that. They need a good running back who has catching ability because they have Theo Riddick as the Bush type. Tevin Coleman, who the Lions brought in earlier this week, is another intriguing option but his injury history would be concerning.
@mikerothstein: There will still be chances for players and fans of 31 other teams to dislike Suh if they so choose, although I've never really understood the hate from a playing perspective. The guy shows up, works hard and is a consistently dominant player. He's doing exactly what he's paid to do, part of the reason he's about to command a potentially record pay day next week. Lions fans will be disappointed if he leaves and you can definitely argue -- as I have -- that the franchise put themselves in this position with not being able to retain him. You can question some of his antics, for sure, but not his actual production on the field.
@mikerothstein: Ehh. I believe everything is interconnected but that one decision isn't a definite adios to Suh. Right now, the only one that would be pretty close to definitive on that is if the team brought back Nick Fairley at a decently-high wage. That would be the indicator. Or if they start making significant plays for other free agents during the legal tampering period now. If they do that, that would be a sign that Suh returning to Detroit is definitely not happening. I thought it was interesting how the Stephen Tulloch situation transpired, but I never took it as a if Tulloch then no Suh equation unless the franchise tag was applied.
@mikerothstein: I severely dislike percentages and I've long said I'm not moving much past 50-50 on Suh because I really don't know despite trying to get as much information as possible on the situation. One thing I would say is I don't believe the Lions will sit around and just wait for him to decide if this goes beyond the first day of the new league year -- unless they really believe they still have a shot at that point. At some point, Detroit needs to make its secondary plan happen and if it waits too long on Suh, that might not be a possibility.