MIKE O'HARA

LEWAND: "We’ve got a long runway to get this done"

Posted Mar 23, 2014

President Tom Lewand has said all along that the Lions’ plans in signing free agents have not been impacted negatively by not getting a new contract for Ndamukong Suh and the delay in hiring a new agent

ORLANDO – The first face-to-face meeting between Lions management and Ndamukong Suh’s new agent will be more of chance to establish groundwork for future talks than hard bargaining that will result in a new contract.

“We’ve got a long runway to get this done,” Lions President Tom Lewand said Sunday at the NFL Annual Meetings. “There’s no pressure. We don’t have any deep discussions planned.”

Suh, a three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle and All-Pro twice in his first four seasons, is going into the final year of his contract and can become an unrestricted free agent in 2015 if he does not have a new contract by then.

Suh’s decision to change agents has delayed the negotiating process. He recently hired Jimmy Sexton to replace Rosey Barnes, who negotiated the original five-year contract signed in 2010 when the Lions drafted Suh second overall.

Suh notified Barnes in late January that he was changing agents. He hired Sexton on March 7.

Lewand prefaced Sunday’s comments by saying he will not speak specifically about anything involving the Suh negotiations, and that there won’t be future updates before a deal is done.

Meeting Sexton at the league meetings is not out of the ordinary, Lewand said. Agents regularly attend the meetings to speak with members of team management.

“Jimmy’s usually down here, anyway,” Lewand said. “We typically touch base on our current players, or players he represents. We do plan on touching base here.

“Jimmy’s only been repping Ndamukong for a few weeks now. Part of it is to find out where they are, and how much they’ve had to get on the same page with what some of the expectations are on their side. We’ll see where it takes us.

“I don’t want to get into what we’re talking about, and how involved the conversations are. Those all start to feel like updates on the negotiations, which I’m not going to do.”

Lewand has said all along that the Lions’ plans in signing free agents have not been impacted negatively by not getting a new contract for Suh and the delay in hiring a new agent.

“Ndamukong picked his representative,” Lewand said. “I respect Jimmy, and I respect the process Ndamukong went through.”