Ndamukong Suh

In this Nov. 9, 2014, file photo, Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) is shown before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins at Ford Field in Detroit. When NFL free agency begins Tuesday, March 10, 2015, lots of players will get lots of money. Some will even earn it throughout those massive contracts. Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, the AP Offensive Player of the Year and league’s leading rusher, will be available. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski, File)

Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh signed the richest NFL contract ever for a defensive player when he inked his $114 million contract with the Miami Dolphins earlier this week. The former Detroit Lions star tackle took his talents to South Beach where he’ll anchor a Dolphins team void on big names. After terrorizing opposing quarterbacks for  the last five years in Detroit, Suh earned a reputation as one of the best, if not the best defensive player in the league. Commanding a double team on each defensive snap, Suh can  rush the passer, stop the run, drop back in zone coverage and control the line of scrimmage from his position. While he may be the best defensive player in the league, is he worth over  $100 million to prove it? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate the question.

Riley: You’re not going to find a much better player than Suh to anchor a defensive unit. At only 28 years old, Suh still has several more years left of prime time play, and he’ll be the face of the franchise for a team that hasn’t had one in a while. Richie Incognito and Ricky Williams were the last Dolphin players to receive major media coverage and both times were because of career-killing decisions. Suh’s history is littered with some “dirty player” labels   but for the most part, he’s known for his work on the field and that’s why the Dolphins are paying him a king’s ransom. The defensive line position controls so much about the game of football, and Miami just picked up the most disruptive defensive lineman in the league. The  price was high but the Dolphins are banking that their win count will rise as well.

Green: The great thing about the NFL is that contracts aren’t guaranteed, because if they were, the Lions would be kicking themselves after the first season of this new mega contract. Suh is a fantastic player but a team simply can’t pay that much money to a player who doesn’t have the ball in his hands all the time. Hundred-million-plus contracts are for quarterbacks–that’s it. Shelling out that much cash to a defensive lineman doesn’t leave much left to account for the other premier positions like quarterback, wide receiver, pass rusher and cornerback. Miami finished third in the AFC East last year so it isn’t like they’re just one player away. Landing Suh crushed the headlines, but I doubt it’ll be enough to overtake the two teams that finished ahead of them last season, New England and Buffalo.  And if paying a guy over $100 million doesn’t automatically make you a favorite in your own division then maybe it was bad money spent.

Riley: Considering Buffalo just landed LeSean McCoy and Tom Brady still pilots the New England franchise that’s enough reason for the team to splurge on Suh. Even the New York Jets have made some strides this offseason in commitment to getting better. Having that defensive chess piece across the ball is going to elevate Miami’s defense in so many ways.  And yes, it is a good thing that NFL contracts aren’t guaranteed, making Suh’s signing an even more genius one. Miami could easily get all they want out of Suh over the next few years then restructure his deal if they have to or cut him altogether. Suh, however, is dominant enough that he could sustain a high level of play for years to come. It’s the ultimate win-win situation for the Dolphins and they’ll come away as a better team than they’ve been in previous seasons.

Green: If Miami was just looking for a player to spend a large amount of money on before  releasing him then maybe they should’ve gone after some of the high-profile offensive free agents or even swung for a trade. I just don’t understand what Miami is doing. That type of free agent acquisition should put a team over the top, but we can’t even say definitively that the Dolphins will even make the postseason next year. Suh is a great player but he nearly   missed his team’s lone playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys this January after a stomping incident the week prior. Availability is a big trait and there’s nothing more antagonizing than a great player missing time due to bone-headed mistakes on the field.  Suh’s still combustible and untrustworthy. If I’m a franchise and I’m signing over those type of checks I want some more reassurance from the player I’m paying. There’s still so many question marks surrounding this deal that they make me think the Lions knew what they were doing by dividing most of their big money to their core offensive guys in Matthew Stafford  and Calvin Johnson