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Ndamukong Suh rumors: Is it Lions vs. Dolphins?

The Ndamukong Suh sweepstakes seems to be developing into a battle between the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL negotiating period doesn't officially open until Saturday, but there have already been a lot of notable developments in the Ndamukong Suh sweepstakes. Perhaps the most noteworthy development is that the Miami Dolphins have seemingly emerged as the favorite to land Suh. The Dolphins apparently want to make a splashy signing, and they are reportedly "confident" in their chances of getting something done with Suh.

Another noteworthy development stems from what Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio said on Friday during an interview with a Miami radio station. Via CBS Detroit, here's what Florio said about the Suh sweepstakes potentially being a two-team race between the Dolphins and Detroit Lions:

"You bring in a guy like that, and it changes the way people think about a franchise," Florio continued. "And I thought it would be a team like the Jaguars or Raiders that would do that, but my understanding is it’s the Dolphins or the Lions, and the other teams are just leverage for whatever package agent Jimmy Sexton ultimately can negotiate with the Dolphins. I’ve heard $15 million a year is the likely ending point. They’d like to get to $17 million a year, but $15 million on a seven-year deal or a six-year deal … something like that is what’s been percolating on the grapevine."

On Thursday, Michael Silver reported that the Oakland Raiders are "planning" on Suh coming in for a visit after free agency officially begins next week. However, if Florio's report is accurate, it seems that a visit with the Raiders might just be a leverage move more than anything with Suh apparently focused on the Dolphins and Lions for the time being.

Wherever Suh ends up, he's going to set a new standard for defensive players:

Some pretty outrageous numbers have been thrown out in recent days, and I suppose with Dolphins owner Stephen Ross set on wanting to make a splash, Miami could very well end up overpaying Suh. In that case, it's probably for the best for the Lions to explore their other options and not get into a bidding war.

At the same time, though, if a lot of this interest in other teams is mainly a front to create leverage, then perhaps Suh's final deal will indeed end up in the $15-17 million a year range. That's still a lot of money, of course, especially when you consider that more than half of his deal will likely be guaranteed, but an average of $15-17 million a season would be a lot easier to take on than something like $20 million a year.

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