Lions GM Mayhew 'not leaning any way' on tagging Suh

The Detroit Lions have had "extensive" talks with Ndamukong Suh's representative during the NFL Scouting Combine, but general manager Martin Mayhew isn't ready to make a determination on the $26.9 million franchise tag.

"I'm not leaning any way" on the tag, Mayhew told team beat reporters Friday morning, per the Detroit Free Press. "It's not something we have to decide right now, so I'm not inclined to make that decision."

Mayhew has 10 days to make a decision on the tag before the March 2 deadline.

The team remains in discussions on a long-term contract that could reach nine figures. Mayhew said he spoke briefly with Suh's agent, Jimmy Sexton, earlier this week. Team president Tom Lewand has been in intermittent but consistent contract talks.

"Tom had some extensive dialogue with him," Mayhew said.

Mayhew wasn't willing to characterize those talks as close to producing a deal.

"As my experience with these things is, there's no such thing as close," Mayhew said. "Either it's done or it's not done. There've been a lot of deals where we felt like we were really close, like it was right around the corner, it was going to get done, and it never happened. And there've been a bunch of deals we've felt like we were miles apart, there was no way we were going to get it done, and then the deal got done. So there's no close in negotiations. Either you have a deal or you don't."

Frankly, that is the least optimistic quote that has come from the Lions in the last few months. Overwhelming enthusiasm has emanated from the organization while Suh's camp has remained suspiciously silent on the matter.

Mayhew might not be leaning one way or another on the franchise tag decision, but at some point he'll likely have to decide if he can take on that crippling cap number or risk losing the defensive tackle on the open market.

Some other notes from Mayhew's sit-down with beat writers:

  1. The team tendered George Johnson as a restricted free agent. The move will likely keep the defensive lineman -- who had an impressive season in 2014 -- in Detroit.
  1. Mayhew dismissed defensive lineman Jason Jones as a potential cap casualty, despite his $3.98 million cap hit.
  1. The GM suggested that offensive tackle Riley Reiff could move along the line depending on other offseason maneuvers: "I wouldn't say (Reiff) is locked in at left tackle."

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