Ndamukong Suh looks to terrorize the AFC East
Tom Pelissero, USA Today:
Ndamukong Suh was a lock to be the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.
That's how the system is set up. On the relatively rare occasion an "A"-level free agent gets to the open market, rather than re-signing or getting saddled with the franchise tag, he's going to get a deal that blows the doors off and resets the market going forward.
In Suh's case, that means a six-year, roughly $114 million contract that includes $60 million in guarantees from the Miami Dolphins.
The Detroit Lions made a solid effort in trying to keep DT Ndamukong Suh, but their $58 million guarantee was not enough. After spending five years with the Lions, Detroit's record was a subpar, 38-42. Suh now joins arguably the best defensive line in the NFL with Cameron Wake, Earl Mitchell and Olivier Vernon along the front.
Ndamukong Suh's agent, Jimmy Sexton is the same one who delivered DT Reggie White to the Green Bay Packers in 1993. White joined a far superior team than Suh. Green Bay featured a hall of fame QB in Brett Favre, a superb head coach in Mike Holmgren, and one of the best fan bases in the NFL. Ndamukong joins a Miami team with an unproven head coach who just two years ago guided the team through a bullying scandal, and is in the midst of another overhaul.
As the No.2 overall pick by the Detroit Lions in 2010, Ndamukong Suh has registered 36 sacks. In 2014, he led Detroit with 8 sacks, topped defensive tackles with 37 quarterback hurries and tallied a career-high 21 tackles-for-losses. The Lions finished with an 11-5 record, and could have won the NFC North over the Green Bay Packers if his team had a solid kicking game. In joining the Miami Dolphins, he faces another formidable opponent twice a year in the New England Patriots.
The Dolphins have been forced to trim payroll, and have cut starting linebackers, Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler. Both were part of the free agent class of 2013 that also featured WR Mike Wallace. Mike may be facing the same fate as Ellerbe and Wheeler if his contract restructure can not be worked out. Miami Dolphins's owner Steve Ross has been aggressive in capturing the big prizes in free agency, but it has not generated a winning record.
Along with the removal of the two linebackers from the roster, the Dolphins have also parted ways with CB Cortland Finnegan, WR Brian Hartline and punter, Brandon Fields. Brandon was the second highest paid punter in the NFL. For newcomer DT Ndamukong Suh , the Miami Dolphins have put a lot of pressure on his shoulders. The Buffalo Bills with Mario Williams and the Houston Texans with JJ Watt have each shelled out over $100 million to a defensive star. Neither of their teams have made the playoffs.
The Miami Dolphins have once again spent the most money on a free agent signing, but the Green Bay Packers are the winners in these sweepstakes. To not have to look anymore across the line of scrimmage at Ndamukong Suh breathing fire, and his intent to injure their players in the process is addition by subtraction for the Packers. And it didn't cost them a penny.
Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.
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