Ndamukong Suh’s time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers appears to be coming to an end with several team insiders citing the recent Akiem Hicks signing as an official signal that the organization is moving in a different direction. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Hicks signed a one-year deal with the Bucs that can be worth as much as $10 million. The Athletic’s Greg Auman noted that the Hicks signing “likely ends” any chance Suh had of re-signing with the Buccaneers.
“I can confirm Bucs have agreed to terms on a one-year deal to sign defensive lineman Akiem Hicks,” Auman tweeted on May 31. “Much-needed veteran presence on defensive line and likely ends any chance of Ndamukong Suh returning. @AdamSchefter had it first.”
Once former defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was promoted to head coach, it appeared the chances of the Buccaneers bringing back Suh were good. The star defender tweeted a cryptic message indicating he wanted to return to Tampa for the 2022 season.
“Congrats to Todd Bowles on becoming head coach of a great team that still feels one man light on talent 👀,” Suh tweeted on March 31.
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The Raiders Could Be the Front-Runner to Sign Suh
The Browns and Raiders are two opposing teams that have both been linked to Suh this offseason. According to 247Sports’ Brad Stainbrook, the Browns have “backed off” in their pursuit of Suh since re-signing Jadeveon Clowney. Stainbrook previously reported on May 15 that the Bucs, Raiders and Browns were “in the mix” to sign Suh. This now means the Raiders could be the new front-runners with the Browns and Buccaneers likely pulling out of the race.
“Source: Bucs and Raiders still in on DT Ndamukong Suh,” Stainbrook tweeted on May 31. “Talks are ongoing with Las Vegas, while Tampa Bay will let all the options die down first. #Browns have backed off.”
Schefter: ‘Suh’s Time in Tampa Figures to Be Over’
After the Hicks signing, Schefter noted that, “Suh’s time in Tampa figures to be over.” Suh has been remarkably durable throughout his NFL career not missing a contest during his three seasons in Tampa, notching a consecutive game streak that dates back to the 2011 season with the Lions.
The defensive tackle posted 27 tackles, 13 quarterback hits and six sacks for the Bucs in 2021. Suh earned just a 49.4 grade from Pro Football Focus for his play in 2021 and his days as a Pro Bowler are likely behind him. Yet, the veteran defender can still be a valuable part of a defensive line rotation on a contending team.
“Akiem Hicks now joins a stacked Bucs’ defensive front that includes Vita Vea and second-round pick Logan Hall,” Schefter tweeted on May 31. “And Hicks addition means free-agent Ndamukong Suh’s time in Tampa figures to be over.”
The Bucs Have Been Landing Star Defenders on Affordable Contracts
Suh’s tenure with the Bucs may be ending, but Tampa Bay still has a strong rotation on the defensive line. Sharp Football founder Warren Sharp praised the Buccaneers front office for being able to land Suh and now Hicks on affordable deals.
“Crazy the deals TB has been getting for run stuffers,” Sharp remarked on Twitter on May 31. “Ndamukong Suh was averaging $18.63M per year the 4 years prior to coming to TB. Bucs got him for $9.25, $9.0 and $9M the 3 years he was in TB now they just got Akiem Hicks for less than $10M.”