The Detroit Lions Reach Deal With First-Round Pick Ndamukong Suh

August 4, 2010- By Jonathan Lowell

After it looked like their first-round draft pick would be a hold out ahead of the 2010 season, the Detroit Lions finally reached a deal with Ndamukong Suh. Suh desired a contract that mirrored or exceeded Matthew Stafford’s contract signed last season. The Lions would have had a much more difficult time with their 2010 NFL matchups without Suh on the field.

Suh missed more than four days of Lions practice after failing to report to the opening of training camp last Friday. He is expected to take part in afternoon practice Wednesday, and team president Tom Lewand couldn’t be happier about the news.

“The focus needs to be what they do for a living, not how much they make doing it,” Lewand said.

Lewand gave most of the credit to Suh’s agents Roosevelt Barnes and Eugene Parker. Suh will be making $40 million in guaranteed money over the length of the contract. The five-year deal is reportedly worth a total of $60 million.

“Obviously, and most importantly to Ndamukong himself because it takes a player’s involvement to really get a deal done,” said Lewand. “While we would’ve liked to do it earlier — I’m sure he would’ve liked to do it earlier — we’re just glad it’s done and over with and he’s got a lot of training camp ahead of him.”

The Lions’ first overall pick last season, Matthew Stafford, signed his deal before the beginning of training camp last season. It is worth a guaranteed $41.7 million while its maximum value is almost twice that number at $78 million.

Stafford helped the team break its losing streak dating back to 2008 last season. If Suh can be an effective member of the defense this season, 2010 NFL betting trends could swing in their favor.

Head coach Jim Schwartz may have had something to do with the signing. He commented earlier in the week that Suh missed some key opportunities to learn the defense in camp. Veteran center Dominic Raiola told an interviewer that the two sides should get a deal done.

In his senior season with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Suh became the first defensive player to win the AP College Football Player of the Year award since 1998. He was also a finalist for the 2009 Heisman Trophy, eventually given to Alabama’s Mark Ingram.

Suh is now expected to help a defense that finished among the all-time worst in points allowed over the past two seasons. During that stretch the Lions posted a 2-30 record.

With Suh now on the field, pre-season Super Bowl XLV lines still have the Lion’s as heavy underdogs to win at +15000.

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