As the final big domino to fall in free agency, Ndamukong Suh has the potential to be a difference-maker for whichever team he chooses.
Each team can offer Suh something, but they have their cons as well.
Let’s take a look at Suh’s potential fit with the three teams.
Free agent DT Ndamukong Suh’s visit to the #Raiders is now off, sources tell me and @MikeSilver. He’s back home and not likely to make a decision today. The #Rams made a strong impression on him, but he’s also considering the #Saints & #Titans. Nothing done yet.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 21, 2018
Los Angeles Rams
It’s hard to argue against the idea that the Rams make the most sense for Suh on paper.
If he were to pair with fellow defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who is arguably the greatest defensive player in the league, the Rams’ interior pass rush would be practically unstoppable.
Add to that the additions of cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, alongside safeties Lamarcus Joyner and John Johnson, and the Rams could be a devastating force full of playmakers under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
Not only would Suh have the chance to contend for a Super Bowl, but he’d likely rack up plenty of stats with opposing offences having their hands full with Donald.
As far as building his value back up to where it was when he signed a six-year, $114.4 million contract with Miami in 2015, Los Angeles makes the most sense for Suh.
However, it would likely mean him leaving some money on the table in the short term due to the Rams’ current cap space situation, with them having around $28m left to spend and Donald’s mega contract extension looming.
#Rams source to me this am on @NdamukongSuh chances coming to LA: "The people here,"culture" we've established, LA itself, an opportunity to play nxt to another extremely dominant player, guys have excelled in Wade's system. We felt good after he canceled Oak. Now we sit & wait."— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 22, 2018
Offering Suh top-dollar should be of no concern for the Titans, however.
Even after the moves they’ve already made this offseason, Tennessee have around $38m left to play with in cap space. Plus, they have no state income tax, which may seem like a marginal benefit, but allows Suh to maximise his earning potential in the short-term.
And while there’s no Donald around to soak up attention and double-teams, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jurrell Casey is a great consolation prize.
The downside would be Suh switching from his natural position in a 4-3 defence to a 3-4 in Mike Vrabel’s scheme – as he would in Los Angeles too.
And while the Titans are a playoff team, they’re perhaps a step below the Rams and maybe even New Orleans, with the NFC teams in more stable positions compared to Tennessee who are transitioning to a new head coach.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints appear to be third on Suh’s list and may even be out of the running, but they have their own draws.
For one, they’re right there with the Rams as championship contenders, and seem to check off all the boxes for a team capable of winning the Super Bowl – an established coach, a star quarterback and an improving defence.
That defence is also tailor-made for Suh, with New Orleans running a 4-3 system that would allow him to slot into his usual spot and wreak havoc alongside defensive end Cameron Jordan.
But the Saints are strapped for cap space, having just a little more than $2m available at the moment. They can always reshuffle to create the required space, but even after pulling off some gymnastics, New Orleans probably won’t be able to give Suh the same money that Tennessee can.
Regardless of where Suh ends up, his situation will immediately be better than what it was in Miami, where he never seemed to fit in.
Part of that was Suh’s own doing, but a fresh start should make a significant difference.
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