08 March 2015

Breaking down the Dolphins' signing of Ndamukong Suh

The NFL's free agency process began at the stroke of midnight today and already one of the biggest star on the market has found himself a new team. It took a six-year, $114 million ($60 million) contract for the Miami Dolphins to bring defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, formerly of the Detroit Lions, to town. It is the biggest contract ever for a defensive player, eclipsing J.J. Watt's six-year, $100 million contract from a year ago. Let's break it down.

No matter whether you think of Suh as an aggressive or dirty player, there is no denying that Suh is one of the top defensive linemen in football. He excels both as a pass rusher and as a run stuffer and played a significant role for what was a tremendous Detroit defense that helped get to the playoffs. Suh is the kind of player that will make any defense better.

But even then, this is a tremendous amount of money, especially the amount of money guaranteed. Whether it is fair or not to invoke "Albert Haynesworth" when analyzing this contract, it is hard to avoid the comparison even at face value. We all remember the case of Haynesworth and it showed the risks of throwing an exorbitant amount of money at a defensive tackle, plus the Dolphins as an organization do not have a great track record of spending money wisely of late.

That said, Suh not only fills a need at defensive tackle (Jared Odrick is a free agent and Randy Starks may get cut), he should also help upgrade a defense that fell apart in the second half of the season against both the run and the pass. Suh is about to enter his prime and thus, at least in theory, should only be getting better in this point of his career. Putting a presence like Suh between a Pro Bowl pass rusher in Cameron Wake and another good one in Oliver Vernon should immediately improve the Dolphins' pass rush.

In bringing in Suh, the Dolphins are now the third team this week in the AFC East that has made an aggressive move after the Bills traded for LeSean McCoy and the Jets traded for Brandon Marshall.

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