The Detroit Lions are still hoping to retain defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, even it if that means using the franchise tag on him.
"We want him back and we are willing to franchise him, transition him, whatever," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said Thursday, according to Kyle Meinke of MLive.com.
Franchising Suh, who was recently named to his fourth Pro Bowl, will come at a steep cost. The tag would carry a price over $26 million, and tacking on the $9.7 million in dead money he carries puts his total cap hit at a behemoth $36 million. That would make Suh far and away the biggest cap hit in the NFL -- he led the league in 2014 with a $23.2 million hit.
Detroit would much rather reach a long-term agreement with its defensive star, something that Mayhew insisted is still on the table.
"He wants to be here and we want him to be here ... That's a pretty good combination."
Ian Rapoport reported last week that the Lions planned to let Suh test the free agent market, a risky strategy that could end in the highly prized defender being lured away by a cap-rich team. The only sure-fire way to keep him in Detroit is with the franchise tag, and the Lions are willing to use it.