Buccaneers should have avoided Ndamukong Suh

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After finally cutting Gerald McCoy, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should have looked beyond Ndamukong Suh as a replacement.

Up against the salary cap, the NFL’s worst-kept secret was defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be parting ways. It happened on Monday. So a replacement was needed, and multiple reports immediately suggested the Buccaneers would target Ndamukong Suh to take McCoy’s place.

Now, according to multiple reports, the Buccaneers and Suh are closing in on a one-year deal.

Thomas Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times suggested a one-year, $10 million deal for Suh. They weren’t willing to pay McCoy his $13 million base salary for this year, so they’d save $3 million in cap space by essentially making that swap if that’s the contract amount for Suh.

Suh spent last season with the Los Angeles Rams, where he was solid if a bit underwhelming during the regular season before stepping up some during the playoffs. McCoy has outperformed him statistically in each of the last two seasons too.

So there’s a strong case Suh is not even an equal player at this point, let alone an upgrade. The two are from the same draft class, as the No. 2 (Suh) and No. 3 picks in 2010, but Suh is also a year older at 32.

Suh stood as arguably the top free agent available, with Memorial Day around the corner and mandatory minicamps coming in June. As Tampa Bay transitions to a 3-4 scheme under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Suh having played in a similar scheme last year points to the fit.

Age, a broader evaluation of his 2018 performance and asking price seemed to be the dominant factors in Suh’s lingering availability. A general desire to avoid OTAs as a veteran player was probably in play too.

Next: 5 teams who should sign Gerald McCoy

Suh surely had a desire to sign with a good team, and even with Bruce Arians coming in as head coach the Buccaneers don’t look like a slam-dunk 2019 playoff team. Add in a young group of defensive players to cultivate and empower, including 2018 first-round pick nose tackle Vita Vea, and Suh is a strained fit for Tampa Bay all the way around.

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