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Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions close to new contract?

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All season long, it appeared that Lions impending free agent Ndamukong Suh was headed to the highest bidder on the open market.

Just hours after Calvin Johnson vowed to do whatever it takes to keep Suh in Detroit, the Lions expressed optimism that a long-term contract will be finalized before the start of free agency.

"I think there's a very, very good chance that we can get something done with him in the next few weeks," team president Tom Lewand told WDIV's Flashpoint Sunday, via the Oakland Press. "I really do believe he's got a lot invested in himself and the community, and in himself and the football team. He wants to have success in the NFL obviously but he wants to do that with us."

Lewand's comments qualify as a surprising twist because Suh holds all of the leverage with a franchise tag figure of $26.7 million. The organization is already devoting some $40 million of the 2015 cap to Johnson and Matthew Stafford.

Even with the expectation that the cap will rise by $10 million, it will be a challenge to build a competitive roster with so much space allotted to three players.

Lewand is confident, however, that the Lions can continue to walk that financial tight rope.

"We've lived in that environment," Lewand explained. "There's no reason we can't continue to live in that environment. We plan really well looking out into the future and where our salary goes. I think we can do that, I have no doubt we can do that with Ndamukong, make him a continuing part of the core of our football team."

This is yet another reminder that plans are fluid in the NFL. Six months after the Lions decided to let Suh test the market, the organization is now determined to keep him, by way of the franchise tag or a multi-year contract.

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