The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Meeting Ndamukong Suh
Introducing Miami’s Newest Poster-boy, Ndamukong Suh
Ndamukong Suh has been one of the NFL’s top defenders for years, and has been tormenting offenses since he entered the league out of Nebraska. The Miami Dolphins needed desperately to improve their run defense, and wanted to develop a more efficient means of rushing the passer. The team has answered any questions about toughness on the defensive line, adding the most intimidating interior defensive lineman in the league. Suh is an interesting signing for the Dolphins, as he brings a fairly guaranteed level of play, but comes with the baggage of a massive contract, and problems with self-control on the field.
Suh is the NFL’s best defensive tackle. There is almost no debate. He is a proven run stopper, has acquired more sacks than anyone at his position since entering the league, and does so despite constant double teams from opposing offensive lines. The Dolphins have found a strong anchor for the defense, which is significantly scarier when pairing Suh with Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon. When a linebacker blitz is called, the defense will not be able to double team both Suh and Wake, which will lead to plenty of pass rush for the Dolphins. Fans can expect the team’s pass rushers to spend plenty of time in the opposing backfield this season.
The Miami Dolphins’ division features suddenly strong competition. The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets both have top-flight defensive lineman, and have paired them with coaches Todd Bowles and Rex Ryan, both known for their defensive prowess. The Bills and Jets have also added stellar players this offseason, including Lesean McCoy and Darelle Revis respectively. The New England Patriots provide an obvious need for a strong pass rush: stopping Tom Brady. That being said, Suh is an integral part of the Dolphins’ mission to stay on par with other teams in their division, which could produce as many as four of the NFL’s top 10 defenses. Suh is a great addition on the field, and will make Miami’s defenses one of the NFL’s most exciting, and most intimidating units of 2015.
In the eloquent and well-versed words of Notorious B.I.G, “Mo Money, Mo Problems”.
The contract given to Suh features gigantic signing bonuses each year, which makes moving him a potential issue (due to dead money against the cap). That being said, Suh’s contract handcuffs the team for the next 5 seasons. Miami will have to work around Suh’s contract to resign Ryan Tannehill and Mike Pouncey, as well as to add any other necessary pieces. Suh’s contract alternates in value between $14-18 million and $24-28 million every other year. This could be structured to allow Miami to give payouts to Tannehill and Pouncey on the alternating seasons. The Dolphins top priority in the next two offseason will undoubtedly be retaining their young quarterback and Pro Bowl offensive lineman.
Ndamukong Suh’s massive deal takes Miami out of the running for big money free agents going forward. There is a silver lining in his contract, being that the Dolphins will be forced to draft and develop their own players. This is the proven method of success within the NFL, and if Ndamukong Suh’s restrictive payouts are what it takes for Miami to start improving from within, then so be it.
However you slice it, Suh provides a great asset for the Dolphins. While Suh is a known entity on the field, the impact of his contract on the team’s moves will be easy to see over the next five seasons, and could cause some shake-ups in the Miami Dolphins personnel decisions, for better or for worse.
On Thanksgiving Day of 2012, with a national audience watching the Detroit Lions play the Green Bay Packers, Ndamukong Suh committed one of the most flagrant and uncalled for fouls in recent memory, stomping down on the arm of Packers’ offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith, which also earned him a 2-game suspension. Suh has a strong history of committing violent acts on the field (outside of the violent act of playing football itself). Suh has been fined by the NFL 10 times, for a total of $216,875. This includes unnecessarily brutal actions when rushing the quarterback, as well as misconduct after the play. Suh is best known for the Thanksgiving Day stomp, as well as stepping on Aaron Rodgers’ injured calf, and attempting to kick Matt Schaub in the groin. On the bright side, NFL fines are donated to the league’s charities, so in a way Ndamukong Suh has become quite the philanthropist.
The Dolphins have made a strong effort to clean up the locker room following the bullying scandal the team faced during the 2013 season. Suh’s addition actually does not contradict this, as he has virtually no issues off the field. Suh’s problems come when he puts on a helmet and steps on the field. The game of football has strong roots in violence, but many feel that Suh regularly crosses the line. He will not be an issue for Miami 6 days a week, but on game-day, Suh will have to behave well in order to earn the organizations good graces. He cannot help the team if he is suspended or constantly facing league discipline.
The good news is he can now afford to get fined as much as he wants by the NFL.
The circumstances surrounding Ndamukong Suh’s signing have made it hard for the team to welcome him with as much warmth as Miami usually provides (see what I did there), but loving Suh will be very easy on Sundays. He provides instant gratification for a team that needs toughness in the trenches. The Dolphins have been looking for a way to make their defense more intimidating for years, and Suh will bring that to the team. He brings incredible size and strength, with surprising agility to the team’s front seven, and can fit into almost any defensive scheme. The Miami Dolphins have added a truly special player, but will have to deal with the pitfalls of his massive contract, as well as being responsible for a player with questions in regards to his self-control. One thing is for sure about the arrival of Ndamukong Suh: everyone will be watching the Miami Dolphins play this September when number 93 suits up in aqua and orange.