Detroit Lions do not franchise Ndamukong Suh

Ndamukong Suh will hit the open market.

The Detroit Lions announced Monday that they will not franchise tag the star defensive tackle.

The tag would have cost Detroit $26.8 million because his renegotiated salary in 2014 was $22.4 million (the tag calls for 120 percent of a player's salary from the previous season).

The number seemed prohibitive from the start. However, general manager Martin Mayhew wouldn't rule out using the tag to ensure Suh would have been in Detroit for at least one more season. The reality of paying such an exorbitant amount to one player -- regardless of his importance to one of the NFL's top defenses -- likely persuaded Mayhew to decide against the tag.

Suh will hit the open market with the rest of the free agents on March 10. As Around The NFL's No. 1 free agent, the All-Pro will be the most sought-after commodity on the market.

Rarely does a player of Suh's caliber hit the open market in his prime. Detroit's restructuring of his contract led to the team's inability to franchise tag the 28-year-old, hindering the leverage most teams enjoy when negotiating a long-term deal.

With plenty of teams flush with cap space, the negotiations should put Suh above J.J. Watt's six-year, $100 million contract and make him the highest-paid defensive player -- something Suh has wanted.

Whether the Lions will be able to match any offer given to Suh -- or whether the defensive tackle will want to sign with the franchise that drafted him -- is an intriguing plotline as we ramp up to free agency.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down the annual "Top 101 free agents" list and discusses the latest in league news. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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