As a pending free agent, Ngata could spend the rest of his career just about anywhere. But he isn't ruling out doing so with the Lions.
"I'd love to stay," Ngata told the team's official site. "I love what coach (Jim) Caldwell has done here. I love playing under him and coach Kris (Kocurek). I feel like I got in a groove at the end of the season and hopefully I can play a full season understanding the system."
Ngata left the warm embrace of Baltimore's defense and felt a familiar first-season slump outside of the Ravens' facility. Unlike his former teammate Pernell McPhee, Ngata struggled to establish himself within a unit that was desperate for a star playmaker. He finished the season with 2 1/2 sacks and three pass breakups over 14 games.
Ngata just turned 32, and it will be interesting to see where his career goes from here. We've seen excellent defensive players like Julius Peppers, Dwight Freeney and Charles Woodson find late-career surges in the right system. Ngata is not quite at that age, but he might end up wanting to make his next move his last one, and find a place with a similar level of comfort.
Just a few years ago, we were talking about Ngata as one of the NFL's most dominant players. If the Lions think they could get that in spurts next year, maybe he does end up re-signing after all.