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Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions head for franchise tag?

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is reversing course from last summer's plan to allow defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to test the open market in 2015.

After sitting down with Suh for a productive conversation on Monday, Mayhew emphasized Thursday that the Lions want the impending free agent back and are willing to wield the franchise tag as a vehicle to that end, per the Detroit Free Press.

The news comes as a surprise because of Suh's unusual rookie contract that calls for a $26.7 million franchise-tag figure.

It was thought to be a prohibitive number, particularly for an organization scheduled to devote roughly $40 million of the 2015 salary cap to Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford.

Although Mayhew stopped short of saying he would keep Suh "at any cost," he insists the Lions can still build a competitive roster if the franchise tag comes into play.

Even with Mayhew's expectation that the NFL's cap will rise by $10 million, tagging Suh would be a tall order with three stars hogging close to half of the cap space.

With as many as 10 teams ready to engage in a high-octane bidding war, Mayhew is making it clear that the Lions won't lose their most valuable defensive player without a fight.

As a means to that end, Mayhew asserted that "every option" is open regarding negotiations with the three-time All-Pro.

We remain skeptical that the franchise tag is the most realistic option.

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