Ndamukong Suh wants to be paid like top pick

Remember these words?

“Like I’ve always said, I hope and plan to be in training camp.”

That was Detroit Lions first-round draft pick Ndamukong Suh back in June talking about his plans to arrive on time and not miss any practices. As I wrote at the time, find a rookie who is willing to stare deep into that crystal ball and then predict his own holdout and then we’ve got a real story on our hands. Until then, yawn. But the latest news coming from Suh is no yawner.

The Lions kick things off with a pair of practices today and Suh is not yet signed. And reports are now circulating that Suh is shooting for more than the moon when it comes to his deal. Try the solar system. Tom “Killer” Kowalski of MLive.com reported on Saturday that he was hearing Suh was angling for more than the $50 million guaranteed that went to No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford, a quarterback. Keep in mind, quarterbacks are typically paid a premium in the first round, especially at the very top of the draft.

Now, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen tweets this morning that Bradford is gunning for $90 million over six years with a whopping $56 million guaranteed. Wow. Even if that is a starting point for Suh’s representatives from Maximum Sports Management – Roosevelt Barnes and Eugene Parker – that’s a colossal amount for the player picked immediately after Bradford.

Lions president Tom Lewand said Saturday: “It takes both sides to get a deal done.”

Kowalski points out that after Suh was drafted he said: “I feel like being paid and, as coach (Jim) Schwartz said, he feels I'm the best player in college football, and I think they understand that. I don't think it'll be a problem.'

“It has to do with both parties, and my understanding is the Lions see me as the best player in the draft and college football, as coach Schwartz said. I don't think it's going to be a problem at all.”

That right there sounds like a player who is planning to be the highest-paid man in the draft even if he wasn’t the top pick. Suh is basically looking to blow away the $41.8 million guaranteed that Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford received as the No. 1 pick overall in 2009.

Besides the obvious that something badly needs to be done about the rookie wage scale, this is evidence right here how expensive it is to do business on a regular basis at the top of the draft. No one knows that better than the Lions.

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