Around the NFL  

 

Ndamukong Suh's best landing spots

Print

Guys like Ndamukong Suh don't hit free agency often. The 28-year-old is in the middle of his prime during a career that could one day end in Canton.

There's a strong argument to be made that Suh is the best defensive free agent to hit the market since Deion Sanders did 20 years ago. We'd take Suh at this stage of his career over Mario Williams, Rod Woodson, Albert Haynesworth, Nnamdi Asomugha, Julius Peppers, Darrelle Revis and other big names that have been on the open market before.

A return to Detroit is not out of the question. The Lions have displayed a surprising amount of confidence in their ability to re-sign Suh, but their decision not to place the franchise tag on him will make it tougher.

So where will Suh land? Let's pick the most likely landing spots.

Oakland Raiders


They have a boatload of salary cap room to spend and a need under new NFL rules to spend to the new salary cap "floor." They also have an owner and general manager that are desperate for a turnaround for different reasons. (GM Reggie McKenzie wants to keep his job. Owner Mark Davis would love to have a winner while the future location of his franchise is up for grabs.) Wouldn't Suh make sense continuing the tradition of renegade-Raiders defenders?

Suh has said publicly that he'll let his agent choose his next team. Like most players, he's going to the highest bidder. Unlike most players, Suh is honest about it. Oakland appears to be the most likely team to make Suh the richest defensive player in NFL history.

Detroit Lions


The Lions were boxed into a corner because Suh was drafted before the new collective bargaining agreement reduced rookie salaries. That meant that it was virtually impossible to keep Suh via the franchise tag, but it doesn't mean the Lions are out of the Suh mix. They will make an aggressive push to keep him, yet history shows that most players don't come back once they hit the open market. The Lions need to make their move before March 10.

Lions fans received a dose of reality Monday when they learned free agent defensive tackle Kendall Langford visited the team. With Suh and Nick Fairley set for free agency, guys like Langford could be their future.

Chicago Bears


The Bears know exactly how dominant Suh can be. They have a lot of cap room and a huge need at defensive tackle. They also have a brand new coach and general manager combo that could be ready to make a big splash.

Jacksonville Jaguars


Multiple reports have suggested the Jaguars will make a strong push for Suh. They have the money to make it work and the defensive coach in Gus Bradley to maximize Suh's potential.

Indianapolis Colts


General manager Ryan Grigson is aggressive in everything he does, whether it's free agency, trades or the NFL Draft. Going after Suh would give the Colts' vanilla defense an identity. The Colts have plenty of money to spend.

PATH TO THE DRAFT
(Weekdays at 6 p.m. ET on NFL Network)

"Path to the Draft" previews the 2016 NFL Draft by providing in-depth expert analysis of the top prospects and each teams' needs.

Miami Dolphins


They have cleared plenty of salary cap space and could be in position to make a big splash. We wonder if new Dolphins head honcho Mike Tannenbaum will be as aggressive in Miami as he used to be with the Jets. The Dolphins need to rebuild their interior defensive line.

San Diego Chargers


Ian Rapoport reported that the Bolts are preparing to make a run at Suh. The Chargers have the cap space (around $26 million) and would be an intriguing choice for the difference-maker. Defensive coordinator John Pagano runs a 3-4 and could view Suh as a movable piece along the line in the mold of J.J. Watt.

Other wild cards


The Bills, Browns, Jets and Giants all have plenty of cap space, plenty of need and are under pressure to get better. It's hard to rule out too many teams in the Suh sweepstakes. How many teams won't be tempted to sign a franchise-changing defensive tackle?

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down the annual "Top 101 free agents" list and discusses the latest in league news. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

Print