In our 2020 iteration of Finding Free Agents, we’ll attempt to answer three questions for each player: Why would the Seahawks be interested? What would their contract look like? What is the likelihood they reach free agency? Throughout the series, we’ll be focused on specific positions of need in Seattle: Wide receiver, offensive line, defensive tackle and EDGE.
For a third consecutive offseason, former second overall pick Ndamukong Suh will be an unrestricted free agency. Since Suh’s release from the Dolphins, the physical force has spent time with the Los Angeles Rams and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now 33, Suh has remained incredibly durable, having missed just two games in his career—both in 2011. The five-time All-Pro has taken his time choosing his next step in each of the last two springs—he signed with the Bucs and Rams in May—and seems likely to do so again. If the draft comes and goes with the Seattle Seahawks still in need of a boost at defensive tackle, would Suh make sense?
Why the Seahawks would be interested
Since he was selected one pick after Sam Bradford in 2010, Suh has been outrageously consistent. While he doesn’t register a large number of sacks at this point in his career—he last topped five in 2016—he remains disruptive and, of interest to Seattle, stout against the run. (Suh’s arrival and Vita Vea’s breakout 2019 helped vault Tampa Bay from 31st in 2018 to 1st in ‘19 in rushing defense DVOA.) Suh’s ability to play on all three downs, defend laterally and hold up at the point of attack are highly appealing, particularly within the NFC West, but it’s the way he would aid the pass rush that should be of even higher interest.
Suh’s raw numbers in recent seasons aren’t overly exciting—17 sacks and 147 pressures over the last four years—but he has done that while being double-teamed at a fairly high rate. Aaron Donald enjoyed a career-high 20.5 sacks playing alongside Suh in 2018, and in 2019, Shaquil Barrett benefited from space-eaters Suh and Vea, as he posted a career-high 19.5 sacks.
The Seahawks will need to rebuild their pass rush. While they may not be able to rebuild the level of NASCAR package they had in 2013, they can flank Suh with talented edge rushers and enable them to succeed in one-on-ones, with Suh garnering attention from the interior.
What would Suh’s contract look like?
Suh’s last two deals, both one-year deals, have been for $14 million and $9.25 million, respectively. All he has done is continue to produce and stay healthy, so the price tag the Bucs paid ($9.25 million) shouldn’t be expected to dip too much. Suh seems to enjoy the flexibility one-year deals provide and, at age-33, teams would likely be hesitant to go long-term at a high cost.
On Friday, we projected Gerald McCoy to receive a deal around $8 million in APY on a one- or two-year deal. Something similar for Suh would make sense, another year older yet still producing.
Will Suh reach free agency?
As covered in our post on Tampa Bay wideout Breshad Perriman, the Bucs are sitting on roughly $35 million in cap space, with both Jameis Winston and Barrett needing new deals (plus Chris Godwin a year away). Bruce Arians stated his desire to bring back Jason Pierre-Paul, Barrett and Suh in 2020, recreating a front-seven which had so much success, but it could provide difficult.
If the offseason progresses and Suh remains on the market, as he has in recent years, it could be an option for Seattle to explore.