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Ndamukong Suh, Lions express interest in new deal

The Detroit Lions have locked up Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford to lucrative long-term contracts the past two offseasons.

This time around, it's defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh's turn.

Suh is entering a contract year with a 2014 salary-cap number of $22.4 million. It makes sense for both sides to reach common ground on an extension. To that end, Suh's representatives and the Lions have initiated contract talks.

"We have tremendous respect for Ndamukong," Lions president Tom Lewand said Wednesday, via MLive.com. "We've expressed to him an interest in him being here, and he's expressed an interest in staying here."

In four seasons, Suh has three Pro Bowl nods and two first-team All-Pros. Whereas he was overhyped early in his career, the 2010 No. 2 overall draft pick has emerged as one of the NFL's most dominant defensive tackles over the past season and a half.

Suh has said in the past that he would "love" to stay in Detroit. He's wielding a lot of leverage, thanks to last year's restructuring that would bring his franchise tag number to an unmanageable $25.7 million in 2015.

If the Lions are going to keep their primary defensive building block, they will have to top the five-year, $55 million contract signed by Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins in September.

No team in the NFL will have more money tied up in a trio of players than the Lions with Suh, Stafford and Johnson. That dynamic will present a roster challenge for general manager Martin Mayhew and new coach Jim Caldwell over the next few seasons.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" interviews Carolina Panthers star Greg Hardy and looks ahead to the conference title games.

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