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Bradford’s eventual deal could push Suh past Stafford

Last year, the Lions handed to the first overall pick in the draft, quarterback Matt Stafford, a contract carrying $41.7 million in guaranteed money.

This year, the Lions avoided being in the top spot for a second straight draft. But Detroit picked second, and with the Rams reportedly poised to give the No. 1 selection, Sam Bradford, anywhere from $45 million to $50 million guaranteed, Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News raises an excellent question.

Will defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh emerge with a better deal than Stafford?

In our view, it’ll happen only if the Bucs break the bank -- and they likely won’t -- for defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, the third pick in the draft. Regardless of what Stafford received in 2009, Suh’s contract will be shaped by the ceiling set by Bradford and the floor created by McCoy.

Then there’s the so-called quarterback premium. Stafford got it last year, Bradford will get it this year. Suh simply won’t, and it’ll make it harder for him to land closer to Bradford than to McCoy. (That said, look for Suh’s agents to argue that the Lions would have taken Suh if Detroit had “earned” the first overall pick, and that Suh should therefore get closer to Bradford than McCoy.)

Thus, it could be a cumbersome process -- notwithstanding Suh’s past proclamations that he wants to be in camp on time.