As the offseason rolls on through early May, one thing to keep an eye on is the list of prominent free agents still available, who for whatever reason, may suddenly get a deal with a new club. And arguably the biggest name remaining on the free-agent list is a guy that could still end up back where he was playing in South Florida, just two seasons ago.
Ndamukong Suh (above), who when last we saw him was in Superbowl 53 after signing a one-year free agent deal with the L.A. Rams last year, is still available after the Rams chose not to re-sign him this past March. And of course, Suh has ties to the Dolphins from signing a lucrative deal back in in 2015 to come to Miami. He made over $59 million in just three seasons in South Florida before his 2017 price tag was just too large and the Dolphins were in too big a need of salary cap space.
Suh would obviously come at a bargain, at this point, after collecting that kind of big money from Miami and also $14.5 million in his one season in L.A. One would think, Suh would be willing to play for a team (especially a contender) for about half that 2018 salary.
The real question is: even though owner Stephen Ross and GM Chris Grier who were part of the contingent that landed Suh four years ago would be fond of him, what do new coach Brian Flores and his new defensive coordinator, Patrick Graham, really think?
This is especially, after the Dolphins drafted Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins in the first round, and that might indicate they don’t need a free agent, even at a discount, at the same position.
Intriguing speculation from across the state is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be interested in Suh at a reduced price. This is after they decide what to do with the contract of six time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, Gerald McCoy.
McCoy is slated to make $13 million, but non-guaranteed, this season. And, it’s believed that the Bucs are forcing McCoy to decide whether he will accept a pay-cut to continue to play for them or not. Again, Suh may be willing to play for that pay cut price and slide right into McCoy’s position.
Also adding to the intrigue on free agents is that on Wednesday, the Seahawks signed Detroit pass-rushing defensive end Ziggy Ansah. Ansah got a team-friendly one-year deal, but does have question marks about an injured shoulder for the start of the 2019 season.
And, there are other veterans that are watching and waiting all of this out, as well. That includes former Eagles and Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi who remains unsigned as of May. Miami infamously traded Ajayi in October of 2017 to Philly and he became the Eagles top back, as they won Superbowl 52. Ajayi did suffer an ACL injury last season but is expected to be fully recovered by this fall. And, same with Suh and Ansah, he would come at a discount to a team, now.
If the Dolphins or another team is looking for veteran wide receiver help, then former Ravens and 49ers star Michael Crabtree is also not only available, but affordable. And, another interesting name to keep an eye on is former Patriots and Saints tight end Benjamin Watson.
Watson had originally expressed a desire to retire rather than re-sign with New Orleans. However, on Thursday morning ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Watson is having second thoughts and may play at least one more season:
Former Saints’ TE Benjamin Watson, who had intended to retire, is in New England today visiting with the Patriots, per source. Watson also is considering the Chiefs, Bills and 49ers. His retirement didn’t last long.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 9, 2019
Schefter’s tweet says Watson is slated to visit the New England Patriots. And of course, he previously played in New England, when Flores was there and new Miami offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea was also there.
Yes, it’s a long shot that the Dolphins would be interested in Watson, but they do have two young tight ends that they drafted a year ago in Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe that could learn from him. Still, Miami also signed veteran TE Dwayne Allen in free agency earlier grabbing him away from the Colts.
One final factor is, that as of Wednesday, any free agents signed waiting all the way into the season no longer require the signing team to give the players previous team draft pick compensation.
That’s why Seattle did their deal with Ansah and others may follow soon, too.
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