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Ndamukong Suh likely to top J.J. Watt's contract in '15

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The dominant talent on the NFL's top-ranked defense is going to get paid next offseason. The question is whether impending free agent Ndamukong Suh will sail past J.J. Watt as the NFL's highest-paid defensive player.

The Detroit Lions emerged victorious in last week's battle with the Miami Dolphins largely because Suh and Calvin Johnson were the best players on the field.

Although the Lions are enjoying a rare stretch atop the NFC North, they have reportedly been preparing to move on from Suh in March.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported in late July that the organization is willing to allow Suh to explore free agency so the talented defensive tackle can gauge his market value.

Because it would cost $26.7 million to apply the franchise tag in 2015, Suh owns all of the leverage regarding his Detroit future.

He knows it, too.

A frustrated Suh told reporters in early October that "football is football and business is business."

Suh is just 27 years old and cruising toward his third first-team All-Pro selection. It's not every year that a players of his caliber and pedigree reaches the open market.

For that reason, Suh is almost certain to top Watt's six-year, $100 million extension with the Texans.

If Watt had waited for a bidding war, his contract would be considerably higher. Look no further than Mike Wallace, who remains the NFL's fifth-highest paid wide receiver because the Dolphins overpaid to keep him out of Minnesota, St. Louis and Seattle.

While the Cowboys, Bears and both New York teams are reportedly among the franchises preparing to make a run at Suh in 2015, the Lions are content to live in the moment.

"We have the chance to do something special," safety Glover Quin said this week, via the Detroit Free Press. "Why would I waste any time thinking about, 'OK, well if Suh's not here next year.' Heck, I might not even be here next year. Who knows?"

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