Q: How will teams with elite players from the old rookie wage scale address contract extensions? I believe Ndamukong Suh is making around $22 million. Obviously, that is far too much. If the Lions let Suh hit the market, would a team give him an Albert Haynesworth-type deal, or will players in his situation actually take pay cuts to the appropriate market value. Having Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, and Suh taking up 55 percent of their cap obviously straps the Lions from building a team with depth.
Matt in Richmond, Virginia
A: The problem will be cleaned up for all teams within the next year or two. There are only 25 former first-round draft choices from the old system playing out their rookie contracts. Michael Crabtree is the only one left from the 2009 draft. Suh, who is a free agent next year, and the rest are from the 2010 class. The Suh situation is tough because the sides aren't close to a deal, which leaves the Lions tight against the cap this year. His salary is $12.55 million, and the rest is prorated signing bonus. Teams in free agency will try to sign him for about $13 million a year. We'll see whether he can claim a bigger contract. He's in a great spot for leverage. The Lions can't franchise him next year because the number would be too high. If he can't get an extension in Detroit, he will be a huge player in the free-agent market.
Q: Since the Seahawks have roughly $7 million left in cap space with little left to spend on this year, why doesn't it make sense for the Seahawks to pay Marshawn Lynch an extra couple of million this year to keep him happy if they're just going to cut him next year? Is it a matter of rolling more money into next year to sign Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner or Russell Okung? It seems like a no-brainer to keep Lynch happy for at least this year if they have the room.
Nate in Seattle
A: It's not that easy. Giving Lynch a couple of million would take away the chance to give K.J. Wright a contract extension. It would take cap room away next year, which would affect getting deals done with Wilson and Wagner. Plus, the Seahawks wouldn't want to create the precedent of rewarding players who ask for more money in the middle of their contracts. What if, in two years, Earl Thomas thinks he has outplayed his contract? He could say, "If you did that for Lynch, you should do that for me." You also have to consider the age of the running back. He's 28 and likely will be a cap casualty next year. Also, don't forget that $7 million under the cap can dry up quickly when you add the practice squad, salaries for injured players and the signing of injury replacements.
Q: If the NFL is concerned about the logistics of a team in London, wouldn't starting with two overseas teams make it easier? Two teams in the same division have 10 common opponents, right? Play in London one week, Frankfurt the next. It worked for baseball when both the Giants and Dodgers fled for the West Coast.
Brian in Green Bay, Wisconsin