For days now, the rumors kept circulating out of South Beach.
And it appears they were all true.
The Detroit Lions are on the verge of losing arguably their best player, All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who’s expected to sign with the Miami Dolphins after he officially becomes a free agent Tuesday at 4 p.m.
The deal will be for six years and $114 million, including $60 million guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
It will make Suh, 28, the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, surpassing the six-year, $100-million ($52 million guaranteed) contract signed last year by Houston Texans lineman J.J. Watt.
The Lions had insisted for a year now that they expected to re-sign Suh — team president Tom Lewand was even adamant about it being imminent just over a month ago — but those efforts evidently weren’t good enough.
With two high-paid stars already on their roster — receiver Calvin Johnson and quarterback Matthew Stafford — the Lions were perhaps only willing to go so far financially in trying to keep Suh in a salary-cap league.
The Lions’ offer, according to the NFL Network, was for $102 million over six years with $58 million guaranteed.
Not only does Miami offer a warm-weather climate and attractions such as the popular South Beach area, Florida’s no state income tax also had to be extremely appealing for a player who is clearly interested in creating a brand for himself, both on and off the field.
Suh played his first five years in the NFL with the Detroit Lions, who drafted him No. 2 overall in 2010 coming out of Nebraska. He’s been selected as a first-team All-Pro three times and a Pro Bowler four times.
Lions’ fans yelled "Suuuuuuuuh" whenever he made a big play. Other fans around the league despise him and believe he’s the NFL’s dirtiest player.
Pretty soon, barring an unexpected change of heart, it will be those fans in Miami, not Detroit, who are screaming his name.