Terrell Suggs

This Date In Transactions History: Ravens Tag Terrell Suggs

The Ravens have not made paying edge rushers much of a priority, letting a slew of talented outside linebackers — from Matt Judon to Yannick Ngakoue to Za’Darius Smith, among others over the past several years — leave in free agency. The team has made one notable exception here, and that chain of events began 14 years ago today.

Baltimore made a point to ensure Terrell Suggs did not leave during his prime. To prevent such a development, the Ravens used their franchise tag on the impact edge performer on Feb. 19, 2008. This began a rather lengthy process, and a Suggs extension did not commence in the near future.

Tagged at the then-$8.1MM linebacker rate, Suggs filed a grievance to be tagged as a defensive end. The Ravens and Suggs agreed on a compromise price for the 2008 season — $8.5MM, halfway between the D-end and linebacker tags — that May, and the 2003 first-round pick played his age-26 campaign on the tag. Judon agreed to a similar compromise 12 years later. Unlike Judon, the Ravens made a plan to retain Suggs following his tag season.

Baltimore began its John HarbaughJoe Flacco era in 2008, keying a resurgence that produced five straight playoff berths, and Suggs remained one of the team’s defensive linchpins. While Ed Reed and Ray Lewis being in their primes overshadowed Suggs at this point, to some degree, the Arizona State product was the team’s lead sack artist. Suggs was mired in what became a five-season run of single-digit sack slates; he finished with eight in 2008. He added four more during a three-game Ravens playoff run. Baltimore still used the exclusive tag on Suggs in 2009 and ran the risk of losing Lewis.

On Feb. 18, 2009, the Ravens re-tagged Suggs, ensuring him a $10.2MM salary for that season if no extension was reached. Although Lewis was still playing at a high level in the late 2000s, the Ravens prioritized the younger Suggs. Lewis hit the market, and the Cowboys and Jets were among those to express interest. However, the all-time great re-signed with the Ravens not long after his first and only free agency foray. Suggs still waited for his payday, and the Ravens ended that ’09 offseason by taking care of their other linebacker standout as well. The Ravens re-upped T-Sizzle on a six-year, $62.5MM extension July 15, just before that year’s tag deadline.

Although Suggs recorded only 4.5 sacks in 2009, he displayed his value over the course of his first Ravens extension. He combined for 25 sacks between the 2010 and ’11 seasons, winning Defensive Player of the Year acclaim in the latter year. Suggs then returned from an offseason Achilles tear to help the Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII. The Ravens extended Suggs again in 2014, and he finished a 16-year tenure with the franchise in 2018, working alongside Smith and Judon during the latter duo’s rookie-deal seasons. Suggs’ 132.5 sacks with the Ravens are 62.5 more than anyone else in franchise history.

Broncos Reached Out To Cameron Wake, Couldn’t Agree On Deal

The Broncos continue to seek replacements for Von Miller. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the organization recently reached out to free agent pass rusher Cameron Wake. However, the two sides were unable to agree on a contract.

Earlier this week, Denver lost Miller to an ankle injury that will likely sideline him for the entire season. While there’s *some* optimism that the veteran linebacker could return towards the end of the campaign, that hasn’t stopped the front office from approaching free agent pass rushers. We heard the other day that the Broncos inquired on veteran edge rusher Clay Matthews. The team was informed that Matthews is “not going to play,” but agent Ryan Williams later clarified that he was “unable to come to an agreement with Denver,” and his client “remains open to playing in the NFL in 2020, provided it’s the right opportunity for him and his family”

So, the Broncos apparently turned their focus to Wake, who earned five Pro Bowl nods during his 10 seasons with the Dolphins. The veteran spent the 2019 season with the Titans, compiling four tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 11 quarterback hits in nine games. When the 38-year-old was cut by Tennessee back in March, he indicated that he wanted to play during the 2020 campaign.

Denver’s offer to Wake was well off its Matthews proposal, Mike Klis of 9News notes. The Broncos also pursued Aldon Smith before the Cowboys signed him; Klis adds the team has not contacted Terrell Suggs or Ziggy Ansah about a deal.

Assuming the Broncos don’t end up signing a linebacker who can play this weekend, the team will enter the season with some question marks at linebacker. Former first-rounder Bradley Chubb has been working his way back from a torn ACL, and the team is otherwise relying on the likes of Alexander Johnson, Josey Jewell, Malik Reed, Jeremiah Attaochu, and Mark Barron.

Top Edge Rushers Still Available

Putting pressure on the opposing quarterback is critical to a team’s success in today’s NFL, and there are a number of players still languishing on the free agent market who are capable of doing just that. While the pandemic has understandably made teams leery of authorizing big-money contracts, some of the available talent can be had for a fairly minimal commitment, and it would not be surprising to see them come off the board as we get closer (hopefully) to training camp.

So let’s take a look at the best of the unsigned pass rushers.

  1. Jadeveon Clowney: Not many players have been in the news more than Clowney this offseason. By now, everyone knows that Clowney was seeking a multi-year deal with an AAV of at least $20MM when free agency opened, but he has had to modify his demands in a big way. The Browns are believed to have two offers on the table: a one-year pact worth $15MM, and a multi-year contract worth around $12MM/year. Cleveland does not seem to be high on Clowney’s list of preferred destinations, but the club does have the makings of a postseason contender. It will be interesting to see if another team tries to top the Browns’ proposals to land a potentially game-changing talent.
  2. Everson Griffen: Back in May, Griffen was rated as our No. 3 best available free agent, and he would be the No. 2 talent on that list today now that Cam Newton has signed with the Patriots. Shortly after the list was published, we heard that the Cardinals may be interested, but nothing has transpired on the Griffen front in the last six weeks. The 32-year-old showed that he still has plenty left in the tank after registering eight sacks in 2019, and the fact that he is still unsigned may indicate that his contract demands are too high right now.
  3. Ezekiel Ansah: The Seahawks paired Clowney with Ansah in 2019 with the hopes of creating a true two-headed pass-rushing monster. That did not exactly work out as planned, as Clowney managed just three sacks and Ansah posted 2.5 while playing in 11 games. Ansah just couldn’t regain the form that he displayed during his best years with the Lions, and it certainly seems as if he does not have another double-digit sack campaign in him. Still, he is another year removed from the shoulder injury that marred his 2018 season and delayed his 2019 debut, so he will surely get a chance to be a part of someone’s pass rush rotation in 2020.
  4. Michael Bennett: Bennett wants to play in 2020, but thus far, it doesn’t sound as if there has been much interest in his services. The three-time Pro Bowler enjoyed a nine-sack effort with the Eagles in 2018, but he was traded to the Patriots in March 2019 and clashed with New England brass. In October, the Pats shipped him to the Cowboys, for whom he posted four sacks in nine games. In total, he collected 6.5 sacks last year while playing fewer snaps than he is accustomed to. He may very well start to attract more interest once camp gets underway.
  5. Markus Golden: No one other than the incumbent Giants has expressed interest in Golden since free agency began, and it seems like the 29-year-old will be back with Big Blue in 2020. The Giants put the rarely-used UFA tender on him, which means that he will only be eligible to play for New York if he does not sign another offer prior to the start of training camp (presently scheduled for July 28). Though Golden posted 10 sacks in 2019, he did so off of just 26 pressures, which teams likely see as an unsustainable conversion rate. The UFA tender would pay Golden $4.125MM this season.
  6. Jabaal Sheard: Sheard has never quite lived up to his potential as a game-changing pass rusher, and the 8.5 sacks he totaled in his rookie season in 2011 remain a career high. But he has averaged over five sacks per season over the course of a mostly-durable nine-year career, and he still looks the part of a starting DE. Fresh off a reasonably productive three-year stint with the Colts, Sheard has not yet been connected to any club this offseason.
  7. Clay Matthews: Matthews opened the 2019 campaign with his hair on fire, posting six sacks in the first five games of the season. It appeared that the two-year, $16.75MM contract the Rams gave to the longtime Packer in March 2019 was going to pay off in a big way, but Matthews suffered a broken jaw in October that derailed his season. He picked up two more sacks the rest of the way, and LA cut ties with him earlier this year. There have been no public reports of interest in the 34-year-old, but he could be a valuable veteran presence if deployed in the right way.
  8. Vinny Curry: Curry has always been a situational pass rusher. Even when he started all 16 regular-season games for the Eagles in 2017, he played in just over half of the club’s defensive snaps. His one year in Tampa Bay in 2018 was not a smashing success, but he returned to Philadelphia in 2019 to reprise his role as a player who can come in on passing downs and who represents a legitimate threat to get to the quarterback. The Jets were said to be interested in him in March, and Gang Green could still use pass rushing help, but the two sides have not yet come together on an agreement.
  9. Terrell Suggs: Suggs’ career accomplishments stand head and shoulders above those of most everyone else on this list. The former Defensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and seven-time Pro Bowler has 139 career sacks to his credit, but he finally started to slow down in 2018, his final year in Baltimore, and he looked the part of an aging defender during his 13-game stint with the Cardinals in 2019. Arizona cut him late last season and he was scooped up by the Chiefs, which allowed him to collect his second Super Bowl ring. It’s unclear if T-Sizzle has any interest in continuing his playing career, but he has nothing left to prove.
  10. Cameron Wake: Another player that would be higher on this list if not for his age, Wake was released by the Titans in March. The 38-year-old has said he wants to keep playing, but after a terrific run with the Dolphins from 2009-18, Wake’s one year with Tennessee did not go according to plan. He registered just two sacks in nine games and missed the final stretch of the season with a back injury. He might well be healthy now, but we are unaware of any teams with interest at this point.

Extra Points: Slater, AB, Suggs

We’ve seemingly heard the same sentiment for several years now, but it’s worth passing along once again: Patriots special teams ace Matthew Slater has no intention of retiring and hopes to stick with New England.

“I definitely feel like my family and I thought about it a lot,” Slater said The Athletic’s Jeff Howe. “I still love to play and want to continue to play. I guess as of now, I want to keep playing. We just have to see how things go from here. There are a lot of things up in the air that I don’t know, but I’m going to approach it as though I’m preparing to play next year. We’ll kind of go from there. That’s where we’re at.”

The 2008 fifth-rounder has spent his entire career with the Patriots, earning three Super Bowl rings. The 34-year-old earned his eighth-career Pro Bowl nod this season.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the league…

  • An arrest warrant was issued for Antonio Brown following an altercation with a truck driver, and TMZ has passed along some soundbites from the 911 call (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com). “The guy is high, he smoked, he threatened me,” the driver said. “He’s trying to fight, he throws stones at my truck.” Brown’s trainer, Glen Holt, was arrested following the incident.
  • After getting waived by the Cardinals, veteran Terrell Suggs was hoping he’d land back in Baltimore. Instead, he was claimed by the Chiefs, and it didn’t take long for the veteran to buy into his new team. “It didn’t take much convincing,” Suggs told Dave Skretta of the Associated Press. “This team is pretty vet-savvy. Having been in this position a few times, you learn more from failure than you ever would from success. I think that the things that have happened in years past kind of prepared this team for the task that it took. It also doesn’t hurt to have the reigning MVP, and definitely the best tight end in the game, on your team. Once they got rolling and clicking on all cylinders, we got to have fun out there.”
  • Remember when we heard that former star receiver Chad Johnson was going to audition for the XFL as a kicker. Well, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert writes that the 42-year-old didn’t participate in his scheduled audition on Monday. Meanwhile, league commish Oliver Luck told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle that Johnson was a “no-show” (Twitter link). As Seifert notes, one former kicker did land a XFL gig, as former Saints special teamer Garrett Hartley earned a job following the Monday tryout.

West Notes: Rams, Phillips, Suggs, Carr

The Rams have obviously been having a disappointing season, as they enter the final two weeks of the season with their playoff chances hanging by a thread the year after making a Super Bowl run. Anytime a team fails to meet expectations there’s the possibility for major changes, and it sounds like that could be the case in Los Angeles. Wade Phillips might be nearing the end of his time with the team, as Alex Marvez of Sirius XM NFL Radio tweets that he’s “hearing there’s a chance” Phillips doesn’t return for the 2020 season. Phillips, 72, has been the Rams’ defensive coordinator for the past three seasons, and was part of head coach Sean McVay’s inaugural staff.

The former Cowboys head coach has been coaching in the league since all the way back in 1976. Before joining forces with McVay he was the defensive coordinator in Denver, overseeing their vaunted ‘No Fly Zone’ secondary which won a Super Bowl in 2015. Marvez adds that Phillips is in the final year of his contract, and that if he were to depart then linebackers coach Joe Barry would be a “strong replacement candidate.” The Rams’ defense has had some notable meltdowns this season, like when they gave up 44 points to the Cowboys last week or 45 to the Ravens a month back, but they’ve also played quite well at times. The secondary has been better since trading for Jalen Ramsey, and they’ve given up 17 or fewer points in six of their last eight games. If Phillips does get the boot or chooses to leave on his own, he’d likely draw some interest from teams in search of a veteran assistant, perhaps to be paired with a young offensive-minded head coach.

Here’s more from out West:

  • Terrell Suggs initially said he’d only play for the Ravens after he was cut by the Cardinals, but when he was claimed by the Chiefs it was immediately reported that he’d be joining Kansas City. What changed? Apparently all it took was a short call with Andy Reid. “I was really uncertain about my future last week, but I talked to Coach and it was a brief conversation and I was like, ‘OK,”’ the veteran pass-rusher said earlier this week, via Adam Teicher of ESPN.com. “I asked Coach, ‘I just learned the hard way that a player like me just [doesn’t] fit in anywhere.’ He was like, ‘Trust me, you’ll fit in here.'” Suggs spent the first 16 years of his career with Baltimore before signing in Arizona this past offseason. Now, he’ll be joining one of the Ravens’ main AFC rivals with a chance at a potential final playoff run.
  • Raiders safety Karl Joseph was placed on injured reserve after suffering a foot injury early last month, and now we have more details. Joseph had a “partial case of plantar fasciitis in his right foot,” according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (Twitter link). Tafur also reports that he’ll be good to go in April when offseason programs start across the league. The Raiders declined Joseph’s fifth-year option, so the former first-round pick will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Joseph started the first nine games of this season, and has said he wants to be back with the Raiders. He was receiving average marks from Pro Football Focus before going down.
  • Speaking of the Raiders, there will be a lot of talk about Derek Carr this offseason. The Raiders are set to move to Las Vegas for 2020, and it’s not quite settled as to who will be their quarterback when they play their first game there. Jon Gruden has been publicly supportive of Carr, but “there is a significant disconnect between the coach and the quarterback,” writes Michael Lombardi of The Athletic. Lombardi writes that he believes the Raiders will hold onto Carr, while also drafting a quarterback next April. He speculates that Gruden might look to trade Carr, finding a partner willing to take on Carr’s relatively affordable contract. It’s often hard to tell what Gruden is really thinking as he’s often publicly said one thing while doing another during his short time back in the league, but it’s certainly plausible that he decides to move on from Carr, one of the last holdovers from the pre-Gruden Raiders.

Chiefs Claim Terrell Suggs

The Chiefs claimed former Cardinals linebacker Terrell Suggs off waivers on Tuesday. The news was first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Initially, it wasn’t clear whether Suggs would be willing to suit up for the Chiefs. After his release, he told people close to him that he would only play for the Ravens, but the opportunity to play for another Super Bowl ring made him reconsider. He will join KC and, in all likelihood, make his Chiefs debut on Sunday against the Bears.

The pickup gives the Chiefs some much needed edge rushing ammo in the wake of Alex Okafor‘s pectoral injury. To date, Suggs has with 5.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in 13 games this year.

Suggs was a popular man on the waiver wire. As Rapoport tweets, the Saints, 49ers, and Seahawks all put in a claim, which makes sense given that all of those teams are dealing with injuries to their own pass rushers. Rapoport says the Ravens may have signed Suggs if he had cleared waivers, but Baltimore did not put in a claim.

Suggs didn’t get the homecoming he wanted, but he fell into a choice situation. Rather than playing out the year for the 4-9-1 Cards, he has the opportunity to aid the 10-4 Chiefs in their quest for a championship.

Suggs was drafted No. 10 overall by the Ravens all the way back in 2003. He spent the next 16 seasons with the team and became a franchise icon, winning Super Bowl XLVII with them and making the Pro Bowl seven times. He remained reasonably productive with seven sacks in 2018, but the Ravens let him walk to Arizona in the spring.

The Chiefs will be responsible for the remainder of Suggs’ one-year, $7MM deal.

Terrell Suggs Only To Play For Ravens?

DEC. 15: At least one team other than the Ravens is poised to claim Suggs, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Rapoport confirms that Suggs is not certain to report if he is claimed by a club other than Baltimore, but again, teams may simply want to keep the future Hall-of-Famer from reuniting with the 12-2 Ravens. Rapoport speculates that the Titans, who employ Suggs’ former Baltimore defensive coordinator, Dean Pees, could be the interested team. Jason La Canfora of CBS sports says Tennessee is, in fact, interested in Suggs, along with the 49ers (Twitter link).

DEC. 14: An interesting showdown is setting up between pass-rusher Terrell Suggs and NFL teams. Suggs, released earlier this week, only wants to play for the Ravens and will “strongly consider” not reporting to other teams who claim him, sources told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.

Suggs started his career with the team, and wants to return to Baltimore to finish it out. The only problem is that since the Ravens have the league’s best record they have the lowest priority waiver claim, so all 31 other teams will have to pass on him for him to get his wish. Suggs “has told some people that he is unlikely to report anywhere other than Baltimore,” Schefter writes. Suggs can be claimed at 4pm ET on Monday, so we’ll know his next destination in the next couple of days.

Even if a team knows that Suggs will retire rather than play for them, they might still be inclined to claim him just to block the Ravens from adding some help right before the playoffs. It would certainly make sense for a fellow contender to want to spoil Baltimore’s plans, and Suggs is only owed $350K for the rest of the season.

The longtime veteran was drafted tenth overall by the Ravens all the way back in 2003. He spent the next 16 seasons with the team and became a franchise icon, winning Super Bowl XLVII with them and making the Pro Bowl seven times. He remained reasonably productive with seven sacks last year, but the Ravens let him walk to Arizona. He inked a one-year, $7MM deal with the Cardinals, and ended up finishing with 5.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in 13 games with them.

Cardinals Cut Terrell Suggs

The Cardinals released Terrell Suggs, head coach Kliff Kingsbury announced. The 37-year-old Suggs will now be available for the league’s other 31 teams, via the waiver wire. 

The seven-time Pro-Bowler could be an interesting pickup for contenders between now and Monday. Before his release, Suggs started in all 13 games for the Cardinals this season and notched 5.5 sacks plus four forced fumbles.

Regarding Suggs, we’ve been having conversations as the season went on, as his role has been reduced, and we’ve kind of made the shift to playing some younger players,” Kingsbury said. “… In fairness to him to try to find a better fit right now, we released Terrell today.”

Despite Kingsbury’s comment about Suggs’ diminishing role, he played 76% of the Cardinals’ defensive snaps last week against the Steelers. He’s been over the 70% threshold in nine of Arizona’s 13 contests. The Cards will transition to said younger edge defenders opposite Chandler Jones on Sunday.

Any team claiming Suggs on Monday would owe him $353K, the prorated portion of his salary for the final two weeks of the season. Any team to claim Suggs would have exclusive negotiating rights until March. Suggs was listed as questionable to play this week because of a back injury.

Suggs left the Ravens after 16 seasons to join the Cardinals on a one-year, $10MM deal in the offseason. The Arizona native exited Baltimore as the franchise’s all-time sacks leader with 132.5 QB takedowns – 62.5 more than runner-up Peter Boulware. Suggs also surpassed Ray Lewis to become the Ravens’ games-played leader, suiting up for his 229th career regular-season contest in Week 17 of the 2018 campaign.

Baltimore sits 32nd on the wire, so while a return trip to Maryland would be quite the development, it doesn’t appear likely to occur. The Seahawks, despite their Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah additions, rank 29th in sacks. The Clowney- and J.J. Watt-less Texans, as presently constructed, will surely consider such a claim. Houston resides in front of Seattle in waiver priority. Jon Gruden‘s affinity for veterans may not make such a move out of the question for the 6-7 Raiders, especially if they are to beat the Jaguars on Sunday.

Bisciotti: Ravens Made Competitive Terrell Suggs Offer

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti expected Terrell Suggs to stay in Baltimore after what he describes as an offer close to the one the Cardinals submitted. But the 17th-year veteran bolted early in free agency.

While Bisciotti did not specify how close the Ravens came to matching the one-year, $7MM proposal the Cardinals made, the longtime owner anticipated being able to retain Suggs with a hometown discount.

Until the very minute Terrell took Arizona’s deal, I thought he would take less to stay here,” Bisciotti said, via ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley (on Twitter). “I was wrong. I wished him well.”

Just before Suggs’ defection, he and the Ravens did not appear to be close on terms. The franchise’s all-time sack king played for $6.95MM in 2018, the final season of his four-year, $20MM deal. Suggs initially leaned toward re-signing with the Ravens. However, Suggs said Ozzie Newsome stepping away from his GM post, and Baltimore’s decisions on other veteran defensive stalwarts, swayed him.

Suggs played high school and college football in Arizona, helping to explain the choice to leave a division champion for the team that finished with 2018’s worst record. The Ravens also lost Za’Darius Smith, who signed a $16.5MM-AAV Packers deal, but still have Matt Judon and brought in Pernell McPhee and Shane Ray after the draft. Third-round pick Jaylon Ferguson also figures to factor into Baltimore’s pass rush, as will 2017 third-rounder Tim Williams. Bisciotti called Williams a situational pass rusher, Hensley adds (via Twitter). Williams played 120 snaps last season.

GM Change Impacted Terrell Suggs’ Decision To Leave Ravens

The Ravens’ defense will look considerably different in 2019. While C.J. Mosley and Eric Weddle helped anchor the past few units, Terrell Suggs was a cornerstone Raven for more than 15 years.

Suggs departed Baltimore for Arizona, where he grew up and played in college. But had Ozzie Newsome not followed through with the plan of stepping down as Ravens GM, Suggs said he would probably have re-signed with Baltimore.

Through and through I’m an Ozzie Newsome guy,” Suggs said during an appearance on Fox Sports’ Skip and Shannon: Undisputed (via NBC Sports Baltimore). “Once I knew Ozzie was going to step down as GM, you know, I kind of had to question my future in a Ravens uniform.”

Newsome’s exit strategy became official in February 2018. Longtime lieutenant Eric DeCosta is now running the Ravens’ front office. New starters will take their places on the 2019 Ravens’ defense. Mosley had started on the past five Baltimore defenses, Weddle the past three.

Suggs said he had considered this move for a while and added that the Ravens’ decisions on other veteran stalwarts this offseason affected his choice. Although news of Mosley’s Jets agreement did not emerge until after Suggs decided to leave, the Ravens opted to let the off-ball linebacker test the market.

I actually decided before — I hadn’t slept in weeks. I was going to go back to Baltimore because it was the safe thing to do,” Suggs said during Undisputed of his initial instinct, before reconsidering and opting for Arizona (via BaltimoreBeatdown.com). “I loved and respected that organization so much that I had to remove myself out of the situation.”

The 36-year-old edge defender signed a one-year, $10MM deal with the Cardinals. He initially caught Newsome’s attention while playing at Arizona State in the early 2000s.