This has to be an uneasy time for Lions president Tom Lewand. It’s not that his best defensive player, tackle Ndamukong Suh, is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is presently hording $22.4 million of the team’s allotted salary-cap space. He’s faced that predicament the last two years and handled it smoothly by extending the contracts of receiver Calvin Johnson before the 2012 season and quarterback Matthew Stafford before last season. By doing those extensions, he made Johnson the highest-paid receiver in the game and Stafford one of the highest-paid, non-Super Bowl winning quarterbacks in the game, while carving out significant cap space for the team. Lewand would certainly like to work out a similar win-win deal for Suh, and he has the resources and the backing of the Ford family to do so. The problem is, who does he work the deal out with? Suh fired his former agent, Roosevelt Barnes and has reportedly signed on with Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports. However, it remains unsettled, or at least publicly unknown, who exactly will be negotiating Suh’s next NFL contract. Roc Nation has one contract negotiator certified by the NFL players’ association. That is a mostly inexperienced Kimberly Ann Miale, whose lone client to date is Jets quarterback Geno Smith. Suh, along with being a three-time All-Pro, is an astute businessman. He has always cultivated his brand with the same ambitious and determined zeal as he has his game. It’s hard to imagine he would entrust such an important and lucrative negotiation to a relative rookie, especially after firing Barnes, who is from the veteran and respected Maximum Sports Management team. Lewand and the Lions, meanwhile, are waiting to see how this unfolds. The wise play, it would seem, would be for Suh to do what another Jay Z client has done. Giants receiver Victor Cruz hired Roc Nation to market his brand while using Tom Condon of Creative Artists Agency to negotiate his football contract. Condon worked out Stafford’s deal with the Lions, so there would be some familiarity there that could be beneficial to both sides.
Lions' Ndamukong Suh has all the power in contract extension talks
Detroit News | Feb 16