Ndamukong Suh has a big decision to make this free agency period. After years toiling on mediocre franchises such as the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins, he finally found his way to a Super Bowl last February with the Los Angeles Rams.
After the 13-3 loss to the Patriots, Suh became an unrestricted free agent for the 2019 season. The 31-year old signed a 1-year, $14 million contract last offseason, and now is 32 and could be on the move.
ESPN’s Kevin Seifert lists Suh at No. 4 on his top remaining free agent targets.
Suh had a quiet season by his standards in Los Angeles, even while playing next to All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald. But Suh remains remarkably durable and hasn’t missed a start the past seven seasons. He has more years left in him as a contributing player, if not an elite one.
Mike Florio of NBC Sports mentioned that there have been “crickets” about his potential destination next season.
“He’s not going to be a guy that works hard,” Florio said. “He’s not going to be a guy engaged in your offseason program. He’s not a guy who’s going to step it up in run-of-the-mill, regular-season games….but the more you get into the postseason, the more you’re going to see the old Ndamukong Suh.”
Chris Simms responded to Florio by saying the most likely options for Suh will be teams looking for that one extra piece of defensive line talent, but only for a short-term deal.
General manager Les Snead reportedly said that the Rams cannot afford another deal, as their cap space is under $10 million.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported on Monday that the 9-year veteran could be looking at the other Los Angeles team in the Chargers. He also noted that Suh would prefer to stay on the West Coast, which could narrow his choices down to the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks or Oakland Raiders, as well.
UPDATE (3/20/19): NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal lays out the case for the Seahawks.
The Seahawks were one of the teams in the mix for Suh last offseason, and he’s the type of veteran with a great pedigree and minimal risk they often go after. He’d be an intriguing player to use in a rotation on Seattle’s defensive line with Poona Ford and Jarran Reed; the run-stopping youngsters could allow Suh to push his way to the quarterback.
Pro Football Focus (h/t Liz Mathews of Seahawks Wire) is another who has pegged Suh to head to Seattle.
Sacks are one thing, but pressures are another. One is an impact play that isn’t predictable from one year to the next, and the other directly predicts future sack totals. Suh excelled in the latter category, as he didn’t have quite the sack totals of previous seasons but still finished with the 12th-most pressures among interior defensive linemen. Suh’s 20th-ranked run-defense grade proves he’s no one-trick pony, and he would add a veteran presence to potentially mentor Poona Ford and add a mean streak to the Seahawks’ defensive interior that it hasn’t had in some time.”
The 49ers have NFL’s fifth-most cap space, and also a desire to bolster a defense that finished No. 28 in scoring in 2018-19.
Oakland would be a good fit for just a single season. The Raiders have $40 million in cap space, will be in the Bay Area until moving to Las Vegas in 2020 and have a burgeoning young core on the defensive line between Jonathan Hankins and Maurice Hurst.
Motivation would be an issue for the 49ers or Raiders, who probably won’t look lika championship contenders for at least another year. Here’s a bet that he keeps it simple and stays in Los Angeles with the Bolts, joining up with Joey Bosa on a lethal defensive front.