To Suh or not to Suh? That is the question for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Miami Dolphins All-Pro DT Ndamukong Suh is going to be released on the first day of free agency. Should the Bucs chase the five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman or avoid the possible locker room upheaval that comes with the nastiest defensive lineman in the NFL?
Is Suh Good Enough to Make an Impact?
It’s a terrifying thought for opposing defensive coordinators. Do I double Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh? If I try to block both, I expose my offense to middle blitzes from Kwon Alexander or one of the other Bucs speedy linebackers. If I only block one, then the other will get to my quarterback. What do I do?
You can take Gerald McCoy out of a game if you want to. You can take Suh out of a game, too. Can you do it to both at the same time?
Ndamukong Suh is an elite defensive tackle in this league. Per NFL.com, among NFL defensive tackles, he is first in tackles for loss (103), first in QB hits (147), second in total pressures (381.5) and sacks (51.5) since storming into the league in 2010.
Pairing him with McCoy would give the Buccaneers the best interior defensive line in the NFL.
Baggage and Price Tag
Here’s where it gets a little dicey. Ndamukong Suh is a player that beats to his own drum. He doesn’t participate in off-season workouts, choosing to do his own thing. He is ornery, he’s been in the NFL dog house for some on-field conduct and dirty play. The word out of Miami is Head Coach Adam Gase couldn’t deal with him and considered him a divisive influence in the locker room.
We all know Bucs GM Jason Licht has gotten a little gun shy when it comes to “problem guys”. He rolled the dice on Chris Baker, hoping the player would at least perform when called upon and it blew up spectacularly. Derek Fournier brought up a terrific point in this past week’s WTB podcast, if Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter couldn’t handle the Chris Baker situation, can he handle a guy like Ndamukong Suh? Frankly, I don’t know. What I do know is if he can’t, then maybe the Bucs made a mistake in retaining him.
In addition to the baggage, you have to consider Suh’s price tag. The Bucs are already paying Gerald McCoy $12.75 million, Suh would command $14-16 million on his own. That would be $28.75 million locked into one position (that’s not quarterback). That’s a heck of an investment.
Personally, I think the Bucs should take their shot at Suh. Other than McCoy, there’s no one on the Bucs defense that keeps offensive coordinators up at night. Yes, it’s a huge investment and you do still have Kwon and Ali’s contracts to be concerned with, not to mention Jameis Winston – but those don’t need to get done today and I trust the wizardry of Bucs’ capologist Mike Greenberg. He can find a way to make it work.
As for the baggage, I know Derek is all about the chemistry, but I have to tell you, I think the Bucs need a little nasty dog in this defense.
As Licht mentor Bruce Arians likes to say, “No risk it, no biscuit.” The Bucs desperately need a biscuit.