The Detroit Lions, rightly or wrongly, are rumored to be shopping Ndamukong Suh ahead of the 2014 NFL draft. Which teams, if any, might be the best option?
The question here is whether the Houston Texans would be willing to move down from #1 to #10. It was basically eliminate them from the Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack sweepstakes as well as decrease their chances of landing a quarterback of their choosing. Besides that, they run a predominantly 3-4 defensive scheme. Suh has played his entire career in a 4-3. Still, the idea of pairing Suh and J.J. Watt, perhaps the two most dominant defensive linemen in the game together has to intrigue Houston. A big problem is his $22 million cap number. Houston has over $12 million in space but that isn’t enough unless they give somebody back in return. A very interesting idea would be the Lions sending Suh, the 10th pick and perhaps a high pick in 2015 to Houston, and in exchange they get the first overall pick and wide receiver Andre Johnson. The Pro Bowl receiver has a cap number of over $15 million, which would ease the blow enough for the Texans to get Suh. They could then possibly replace him with Mike Evans at #10 or get a quarterback and find receiving help in a deep draft class. Meanwhile Detroit gets that second receiver they want across from Megatron and can use that #1 pick to grab Jadeveon Clowney.
St. Louis Rams
If any team ideally fits Ndamukong Suh, it’s the St. Louis Rams. Head coach Jeff Fisher has a long history of dealing with big personalities, particularly at defensive tackle like Albert Haynesworth. Suh would thrive on that front between Robert Quinn and Chris Long. Unfortunately the Rams don’t have the cap space for such a move. Their best hope would be to deal Long and his $14 million cap number back to Detroit in a deal similar to Houston. By that token the Lions retain a tremendous front with Long, Ziggy Ansah and Nick Fairley and then use the #2 pick to grab Sammy Watkins.
As far as scheme fit and available salary cap go, no team makes more sense than the Jacksonville Jaguars. They currently have the #3 pick in the 2014 NFL draft, run a defense that features numerous 4-3 looks, have a defensive head coach in Gus Bradley and boast over $27 million in cap room. It’s the cleanest deal that could possibly happen for both the Lions and Jaguars. Jacksonville gets a ferocious force on the defensive front in Suh that Bradley is looking for and still get the 10th pick to find a quarterback. Detroit unloads Suh’s huge cap number, his ongoing controversial headaches and still get that high pick for a shot at Clowney and Watkins.
Mike Pettine, the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns could certainly find a place for Ndamukong Suh on his defense. The team certainly has the money at over $29 million but defensive tackle is not their primary concern. As much as Suh would help their pass rush, moving back to #10 is not what they have in mind if it isn’t for a large package of extra picks. Cleveland needs help on offense from quarterback to the offensive line to another wide receiver. Moving from #4 to #10 drops them out of the window to grab Watkins or top tackles like Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson. Would they do all of that for a potentially bothersome case like Suh and his hefty cap number? Doubtful.
Scheme-wise, the Oakland Raiders make a lot of sense. Dennis Allen runs a scheme that would fit Suh’s talents very well. Silver and Black fans, unlike some others would welcome the attitude Suh brings to the game. It might conjure fond memories of Lyle Alzado. If this trade idea had come up a month ago the Raiders might’ve been able to make it happen. They hold the #5 pick and had the most salary cap space in the league. While they still have the former, their once large portion of spending money has shrunk to around $12 million. That’s not enough to handle Suh’s contract.