The Los Angeles Rams have beefed up their defensive line by signing Ndamukong Suh to a one-year contract worth $14 million.
Suh may have been the most prominent free agent still available on the NFL market. The five-time Pro Bowl selection has 51.5 sacks and 289 tackles in his eight-year career.
A defensive tackle by trade, Suh will be lining up next to Aaron Donald, who was named Defensive Player of the Year last season. That gives Los Angeles one of the most imposing front lines in football.
“We are excited to have Ndamukong as a part of the Los Angeles Rams,” team general manager Les Snead said in a statement. “He’s been an outstanding player in this league and we are looking forward to him being a part of our defense.”
Talented But Dirty
Suh is widely regarded as one of the league’s best defensive linemen. He has been selected as a first-team All-Pro three times, and ranks among the leaders at his position in most categories. He has played the most snaps of any defensive lineman over the past eight years, has the most run stuffs of any interior lineman, and is second in sacks at his position (trailing only Geno Atkins).
But Suh has also garnered a reputation as one of the league’s dirtiest players. Over the past eight years, he has attracted more penalties (74) than any other player. He was once caught on video stepping on the ankle of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and took a two-game suspension after an unnecessary roughness incident in 2011.
Those incidents and questions about his consistency have plagued Suh throughout his career. But nobody denies that he is a talented player who is highly durable, and that’s the player that the Rams are hoping to see on the field for them next season.
According to a report from Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times, Rams head coach Sean McVay says he has no worries about Suh or the other brash personalities the team has added to their defense this offseason.
“I think [defensive coordinator Wade Phillips] has more swag than all of them, so we’ll be in good shape,” McVay said.
Bidding War for Suh’s Services
Suh played his first five seasons with the Detroit Lions. He then signed a six-year contract with the Miami Dolphins. While he played well in Miami, the Dolphins released him after last season as part of a large-scale overhaul of the team.
Several teams vied for Suh’s services. The New Orleans Saints, Tennessee Titans, and Oakland Raiders were among the franchises who had scheduled visits with him. The New York Jets went so far as to offer Suh a larger contract than Los Angeles, but rescinded their offer when he failed to sign by a deadline the team had imposed.
The Rams finished the 2017 season with an 11-5 record, winning the NFC West and improving dramatically from their 4-12 finish in 2016. While they lost their first-round playoff game to the Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles is seen as a team on the rise. After signing Suh, the Rams are now listed at 12/1 odds to win the Super Bowl by William Hill, putting them solidly in the group of strong contenders behind the favored New England Patriots (9/2).