Fans of the Seattle Seahawks who rejoiced when the Los Angeles Rams traded defensive end Robert Quinn to the Miami Dolphins will be dismayed to learn the team is reportedly set to host a visit from free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
Update: Ndamukong Suh tells me he is planning to visit the #Rams. Another rising contender officially in the mix.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) March 19, 2018
Suh has carried huge salary cap ramifications everywhere he has played, and there is no reason to expect he would cut his demands any in order to play next to Aaron Donald. Thus, it still comes down to money, and while the Rams are scheduled to have plenty of cap space this coming season they also have plenty of moving pieces that could start to use up that cap space very soon.
OverTheCap.com lists the Rams at $28M in cap space, but that does not include the three year contract Nikell Robey-Coleman signed (3 years, $15.75M) nor the two year, $15M contract center John Sullivan signed. The full specifics, and thus first year cap hit, of neither contract is known at this time, but between those two contracts and allocating cap space for draft picks, injured reserve and the practice squad, I’d estimate the Rams have $15-20M of available cap space.
Is that enough money to sign Suh? Absolutely. However, on the flip side the Rams also have multiple players who are extension eligible or will be soon. In particular, the entire right side of the Rams offensive line - tackle Rob Havenstein and guard Jamon Brown - are both extension eligible. It’s in no way urgent that they extend either of those players, however, it is important to keep in mind that all three of their other starters on the offensive line - Andrew Whitworth, Roger Saffold and John Sullivan - will be over 30 for the 2018 season.
Another thing that could be playing a role is the simple fact that the Rams are currently locked in contract negotiations with multiple other defensive tackles. Aaron Donald held out of training camp last season and wants an extension, and L.A. is also reported to be in talks with former first round pick Dominique Easley. Thus, the visit could be nothing more than a tool used by the Rams to create leverage with either of Easley or Donald, while for Suh it could be nothing more than a smoke screen to squeeze more out of either Tennessee or New Orleans.
In any case, Suh is slated to meet with the Rams, and it could be something or it could be nothing. We’re here to keep you updated on which of those it is.