Ndamukong Suh

Buccaneers’ Interest In Re-Signing Suh Waning

Before the NFL Draft, Tampa Bay was already exploring options for depth on the defensive line without re-signing Ndamukong Suh, but, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic, their move to draft Logan Hall may have sealed Suh’s fate

The Buccaneers signed Suh in 2019 in an effort to replace the production lost with Gerald McCoy‘s departure. Suh failed to produce numbers typical of his career in that first season in Tampa, posting a career low in sacks, but demonstrated his usual aptitude for playmaking, scoring two touchdowns on fumble recoveries, recording 7.0 tackles for loss, and hitting the quarterback 14 times. Suh returned to form the following two years recording 6.0 sacks in each season. Despite signing with the Buccaneers at 32-years-old, Suh has maintained a high level of play. In his three seasons with the team, he’s recorded 14.5 sacks, 23.0 tackles for loss, 46 quarterback hits, and 5 fumble recoveries.

Last month, after trading back to allow Jacksonville a second first-round pick, the Buccaneers used their first pick of the Draft to add the Houston defensive lineman, Hall, 33rd overall. Hall displays some of the same versatility that makes Suh so valuable, but at 13 years younger and on a rookie deal that should be much cheaper than bringing back the now 35-year-old Suh.

Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht hasn’t shut the door on re-signing Suh, making a comment that seemed to insinuate he may be an option in case an injury hurts the team’s depth at the position. Suh would certainly be an effective injury replacement as he hasn’t missed a start in his entire 12-year career. He’s only missed two games since getting drafted and those missed games were the result of suspension.

Still, barring an injury to the line, signing Suh wouldn’t make much sense for Tampa Bay after using such a high pick on Hall. It would add unnecessary cost to the position group and Suh’s playing time would cut into the early playing opportunities for Hall.

Ndamukong Suh Eyeing Buccaneers Return?

Before the news of Bruce Arians stepping away from the sidelines, much of the Buccaneers’ core had already committed to remaining in Tampa Bay. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is one of a few big-name players who has yet to re-sign, but a tweet he sent out this morning indicates that he is still willing to do so. 

[RELATED: Bucs Giving Bowles Five-Year Deal]

“Congrats to Todd Bowles on becoming head coach of a great team that still feels one man light on talent”, Suh said. The 35-year-old has spent the past three seasons in Tampa Bay, playing on one-year contracts each time. In that stretch, he has demonstrated his continued effectiveness, totalling 112 tackles and 14.5 sacks; he also won his only Super Bowl with the team in the 2020 season.

Suh has been amenable to another deal with the Buccaneers, so his tweet doesn’t come as a surprise. The team already has Vita Vea under contract after his sizeable extension was signed, and brought back William Gholston as well. Nevertheless, the 2010s All-Decade member could be retained on, presumably, another one-year pact.

Suh averaged just over $9MM per season over the course of his tenure with Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers likely wouldn’t be able to afford him at that level of compensation on a fourth deal, but they should have room to re-sign him at a lower rate if there is sufficient desire from both sides. With the coordinator of a unit which raked fifth in scoring defense last season now the head coach, Suh could be in line for a return to Tampa sooner rather than later.

NFC South Notes: Falcons, Suh, Panthers

Prior to the Browns coming in with their stunning offer, Deshaun Watson was speaking with veteran free agents about teaming up with the Falcons. Watson spoke with Leonard Fournette and Jarvis Landry about playing with him in Atlanta, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes (ESPN+ link). By the evening of March 17, the Falcons believed they had won the Watson sweepstakes, Fowler adds, and the quarterback was attempting to upgrade the team’s pass-catching corps. Cleveland’s fully guaranteed $230MM proposal changed everything, and Landry is now a possibility to return to the Browns. The eight-year veteran wide receiver visited the Falcons previously, but the team’s outlook has changed considerably since. Fournette re-signed with the Bucs this week.

Watson is a Brown, and Matt Ryan is now a Colt, leaving the Falcons with a record dead-money total and a rebuild to orchestrate. “We’re taking it on the chin this year,” Falcons GM Terry Fontenot said of the $40MM Ryan cap hit (via ESPN’s Michael Rothstein, on Twitter), but noted that the outlook will brighten in 2023. Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Despite the Buccaneers bringing back William Gholston, Ndamukong Suh is likely still on the team’s radar. Suh has discussed a Tampa return with Bucs coaches, Fowler adds, viewing another year with the team as a good way to strengthen his Hall of Fame resume. The All-Decade defensive tackle has played with the Bucs for the past three seasons. Suh re-signed with Tampa Bay on March 24, 2021, and played for $9MM last season. The Bucs now have Vita Vea signed to a more lucrative deal, but the team is likely amenable to keeping Suh around, as it has continued to re-sign key vets.
  • Logan Ryan spent the bulk of his pre-New York days as a cornerback, but Jason Licht said (via The Athletic’s Greg Auman, on Twitter) he will play safety for the Bucs. Licht said the Bucs pursued Ryan during his lengthy free agency bid in 2020; the Giants signed him late that summer and extended him before the 2020 season ended. Ryan became a Giants cap casualty earlier this month and will join a Bucs team that lost starting safety Jordan Whitehead to the Jets.
  • The Panthers have struggled for years to lock down their left tackle position. They are still pursuing an answer here, per Fowler, who adds Carolina looked into Trent Brown‘s market. It does not appear Carolina wants to spent too much at the O-line’s most expensive position, with Fowler also noting the team viewed $10-$12MM per year as too rich for Brown, who re-signed with the Patriots for a deal that did not hit that price range. Brown’s deal is worth $6.5MM a year (base value). Panthers target Duane Brown remains on the market.
  • The Falcons hosted former Bengals, Bills and Jets tight end Tyler Kroft on a visit recently, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Not known for his receiving prowess, Kroft has topped 200 receiving yards in just one of his seven seasons. The Falcons lost Kyle Pitts complement Hayden Hurst to the Bengals last week.
  • Former QB T.J. Yates will shift from Falcons passing-game specialist to their wide receivers coach, while Mario Jeberaeel is the team’s new assistant offensive line coach. Formerly an Abilene Christian assistant, Jeberaeel joined the Falcons as an intern in 2021. Former Bengals cornerbacks coach Steve Jackson will join the Falcons and make an interesting transition, signing on as a senior offensive assistant. An ex-NFL cornerback, Jackson has coached in the NFL for 21 years but has done so consistently on the defensive side.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/28/21

Here are Saturday’s minor moves. Teams have until 3pm CT Tuesday to cut their rosters down to 53 players.

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC South Notes: Saints, Panthers, Bucs

After trading down twice in Round 2, the Panthers planned to select BYU tackle Brady Christensen at No. 60 and add LSU wideout Terrace Marshall Jr. with a subsequent trade-up shortly after. However, the Saints eyed Marshall at No. 60, Darin Gantt of Panthers.com notes, prompting the Panthers to change course and select Marshall earlier than initially planned. Carolina drafted Marshall at No. 59, reuniting him with offensive coordinator Joe Brady. The Saints then took Ohio State linebacker Pete Werner at 60. Marshall, who now joins Panthers vets D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, played a key role for LSU’s national championship team alongside Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase and last season after those future first-rounders left. He totaled 23 touchdown grabs from 2019-20. New Orleans cut No. 2 receiver Emmanuel Sanders this offseason and has been unable to find a steady complement for Michael Thomas for a few years. The team still has Tre’Quan Smith, who is entering a contract year, and used a seventh-round pick on a wideout (South Alabama’s Kawann Baker). The Panthers ended up getting Christensen at No. 70, trading up three spots to land him.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Prior to the Bears trading up to No. 11 and selecting Justin Fields, they called the Panthers about the No. 8 choice, Gantt adds. While the Panthers discussed trading down with a few teams before the draft, the Bears called during Round 1. Carolina ultimately decided moving down 12 spots, to Chicago’s No. 20 slot, was too much. The Panthers selected cornerback Jaycee Horn in Round 1. The Broncos aided the Bears’ quarterback quest a pick later, taking Patrick Surtain II over Fields.
  • This draft profiled as one of the weakest for defensive tackles in recent memory, and the class ended up influencing the Buccaneers to retain veterans at the position. While the Super Bowl champions completed a stunning effort of keeping their team together, GM Jason Licht said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine) the thin D-tackle class moved the team to re-sign Ndamukong Suh, Steve McLendon and Rakeem Nunez-Roches earlier this offseason. The Bucs did not draft a defensive tackle this year.
  • The Saints are reuniting with C.J. Leak, a staffer who once worked as their Combine scout. The Texans dismissed Leak as their assistant director of pro personnel in February, but veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson tweets Leak will return to the Saints. Houston hired Leak in 2018. Leak previously spent two years with New Orleans.
  • Staying on the scouting subject, the Panthers are adding Jared Kirksey to their scouting staff, Neil Stratton of InsideTheLeague.com tweets. Kirksey was previously on the Jaguars’ staff and has previously worked as a Bucs and Texans scout.

Buccaneers To Re-Sign Ndamukong Suh

The Buccaneers are on the verge of re-signing Ndamukong Suh. Once finalized, it’ll be a one-year, $9MM contract for the defensive tackle, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Through incentives, Suh’s deal could be worth up to $10MM (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). 

Suh joined Tampa on a similar contract in 2019. They re-upped him in 2020 for a touch less — a one–year, $8MM deal. Suh may be past his prime, but he still managed six sacks in the regular season — his highest total since 2015 — plus 27 total stops. All along, Bucs GM Jason Licht has said that he’s wanted to bring Suh back for a third year in Tampa.

I think he’s said it, that’d he’d love to come back here,” Licht said in February. “I know that there’s mutual respect for each other, and I’ve told him that we’d like to have him back. We’re just kind of letting the dust settle here for a couple days. We’ve got some time here…We’ll have to see how it all shakes out, but he’s definitely one that we want back.”

Suh, 34, is still among the league’s better interior tackles and the Bucs have managed to keep most of their stars together post-Super Bowl. Their recent re-up of Rakeem Nunez-Roches cast some doubt on the odds of a Suh return, but the Bucs pulled it off to keep their strong run defense in tact.

Bucs To Re-Sign Rakeem Nunez-Roches

While it will not register on the level that Shaquil Barrett or Lavonte David‘s re-signings did, the Buccaneers brought another member of their Super Bowl champion roster Thursday.

They are re-signing defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches, with Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan reporting the veteran interior defender will sign for two years and $5MM. Nunez-Roches, who can earn up to $6.5MM on this deal, has been with the Bucs since 2018. The former Chiefs draftee will collect $2.25MM in guarantees on his latest Bucs contract.

Nunez-Roches played a career-high snap rate last season, starting 11 games for the Bucs and playing 45% of Tampa Bay’s defensive snaps. The Bucs relied on Nunez-Roches more after Vita Vea‘s injury. Nunez-Roches does not have notable pass-rushing abilities, having recorded 1.5 sacks in six seasons, and Pro Football Focus graded him as one of the worst D-tackles last season. But the Bucs have now made him a priority under two coaching staffs, and he has been a part of two strong run defenses over the past two seasons.

The team has not yet re-signed Ndamukong Suh, though given its spree of re-ups, that certainly cannot be ruled out. Nevertheless, they have one of their D-line starters back on a low-cost deal. Suh, however, remains a priority to re-sign, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter).

Bucs Hope To Re-Sign Ndamukong Suh

Ndamukong Suh will be free to sign with any team in March. Buccaneers GM Jason Licht hopes that the defensive lineman will stay put.  

I think he’s said it, that’d he’d love to come back here,” Licht said (via Mark Cook of Pewter Report). “I know that there’s mutual respect for each other, and I’ve told him that we’d like to have him back. We’re just kind of letting the dust settle here for a couple days. We’ve got some time here. You never hit utopia, I guess, unless you win the Super Bowl, but a lot of things we want to try to do, I’m hoping we can do. We’ll have to see how it all shakes out, but he’s definitely one that we want back.”

Suh joined Tampa on a one-year, $9.25MM deal in 2019. They re-upped him last year for a touch less — a one–year, $8MM deal. Suh may be past his prime, but he still garnered the interest of teams, including the Cowboys, last time around. Suh responded with six sacks — his highest total since 2015 — and 27 total stops in the regular season.

Of course, the Bucs will have to weigh their affinity for Suh against their all around numbers crunch, Fellow front seven cast members Shaquil Barrett and Lavonte David are also set for free agency, and Barrett wants to break the bank. On the other side of the ball, Rob Gronkowski, Leonard FournetteChris Godwin, and Antonio Brown are all slated to hit the open market.

Agent Notes: Suh, Thomas, Harris

Here are some updates on a number of players’ representation, all reported by Liz Mullen.

  • Ndamukong Suh chose not to sign with an agent prior to his most recent free-agency and instead represented himself when he agreed to a one-year, $8MM deal to stay with the Buccaneers (Twitter link).
  • Draft prospect Jeff Thomas, a wide receiver out of Miami, has decided to change his representation as we approach the home stretch to the draft. Instead of going forward with First Round Management LLC, he will be represented by Drew Rosenhaus and Robert Bailey at Rosenhaus Sports (Twitter link).
  • Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris re-signed with the team on a one-year deal worth up to $3.25MM. However, that did not come before a recent game of musical chairs representing Harris. Ryan Williams of A1 NFL negotiated his re-up in Denver, but he had switched from the National Sports Agency to Rosenhaus Sports in January (Twitter link).

Ravens Concerned About Michael Brockers’ Medicals

The Ravens made a couple of major additions to their defensive front this month, trading for Calais Campbell and agreeing to a three-year contract with free agent Michael Brockers. But according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, Baltimore has some concerns about Brockers’ medicals.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, teams cannot have free agents examined by their own doctors. Instead, physicals must be conducted by independent doctors in the player’s geographic area. As Zrebiec tweets, the independent evaluation turned up potential issues with Brockers’ ankle, which he injured late last season.

Baltimore is still expected to sign Brockers, but the club is considering its options (one of which, presumably, is backing out of the deal altogether). Zrebiec says the team — which has formally announced all of its other acquisitions — was also interested in Ndamukong Suh, but Suh re-signed with the Buccaneers earlier today (Twitter links).

Brockers is not the type of elite pass rusher the Ravens may have been hoping for when free agency opened, but he is capable of getting to the QB, and his versatility and run-stopping ability would serve as an excellent complement to Campbell and Brandon Williams. His presence would also help to free things up for edge rushers Matt Judon and Jaylon Ferguson, so Baltimore clearly wants to get him in the fold.

The free agent market has been mostly picked over at this point, and the Ravens recently traded Chris Wormley and saw Michael Pierce sign with the Vikings, so if the Brockers deal falls through, Baltimore may turn its attention to the draft for DL reinforcements.