Rams Sign Free Agent Ndamukong Suh
March 29, 2018
The Los Angeles Rams sent an early seismic wave across the 2018 NFL landscape on Monday, March 26 when they signed free-agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a one-year $14 million contract for the 2018 season. The Rams instantly became a title contender and solidified their quest to repeat as NFC West Division Champions.
The Rams' third major acquisition this off-season gives them one of the NFL's most formidable defensive lines in recent memory. Placing Suh on the same line with 2017 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and 6-year Ram defensive tackle Michael Brockers certainly puts the rest of the league's offensive coordinators on notice.
"We are excited have Ndamukong as a part of the Los Angeles Rams. He's been an outstanding player in this league and we are looking forward to him being a part of our defense," said Rams General Manager Les Snead.
Rams Head Coach Sean McVay in an ESPN interview from the NFL's annual meetings in Orlando, Florida: "We feel like it's a good fit. There's been some players that we have a lot of respect for on our roster that have been kind of instrumental and influential in terms of kind of getting this thing over the top. We're excited to get going with him on April 16."
Suh, a five-time Pro Bowler, was released after three seasons with the Miami Dolphins on March 14. Suh started all 48 games with Miami and totaled 181 tackles (109 solo), 15.5 sacks, 13 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He was the team's Most Valuable Player in 2017.
In 2010 he was drafted out of Nebraska by the Detroit Lions and named the 2010 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Since then Suh has led all interior defensive linemen with 55.0 rushing attempt stuffs and is second among all defensive tackles in sacks (51.5). The Rams ranked fifth in the NFL in team sacks in 2017 but 28th in rushing yards allowed, a major area of concern for Defensive Head Coach Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense.
Phillips responded to Suh's signing by once again displaying his social media savvy with a GIF of Spongebob Squarepants giving the 'thumbs up' sign on his Twitter account: Wade Phillips@sonofbum. The off-season that keeps on giving also presented Phillips with two of the league's more dynamic cornerbacks, both through trades on March 14: Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters.
"Certainly having a Wade Phillips and a Joe Barry in an assistant coach's role, they're in position to help you lead. I think it's about listening to these players and then being able to lead these guys the right way, collectively come together and figure out how we can make this defense the best it can be," said McVay.
"These were three players that we felt that supplemented the needs that we had... And there's this guy, Number 99 (Aaron Donald), he's a pretty good football player. To be able to supplement him with an Ndamukong Suh and the way he's able to influence and affect, especially the way people protect up front."
Talib was acquired through a trade with the Denver Broncos. The 11-year NFL veteran and five-time Pro Bowler was drafted and played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2008-12), the New England Patriots (2012-13) and the Broncos (2014-17). His 34 total interceptions lead the NFL since his rookie season in 2008.
Talib: "I've been in this same defense with Wade (Phillips) and then with Joe Woods, now back with Wade. So the transition will be easy for me. I'm a people person, I'm a social guy. I already know a bunch of guys in the locker room... It was no time in the NFL was I was more comfortable playing football than with Wade Phillips."
Peters, acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs was the 18th overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. The 2016 First-Team All-Pro has recorded 19 interceptions, the most in the NFL since entering the league. The Oakland, California native started all 45 career games he has played, including 14 last season.
Peters: "I'm just trying to find me a nice comfortable home again. It was a wonderful little three years where I was at and now it's time to make a transition to a new place... With me just to bring my personality, to bring my energy the way I play the game, it's going to be perfect."
The Suh signing constituted another bold move in each of the past three off-seasons since the Rams relocated back to Los Angeles. The team made a block-buster trade for the 2016 NFL top draft choice to land quarterback Jared Goff... now being primed as their offensive leader for the next decade. Last January, Snead hired Sean McVay as their head coach... already trending as one the best decisions in franchise history.
McVay: "I think the exciting thing about it is when you look at adding any sort of pieces like the three players, especially kind of outside of the framework of the players that we resign, they all love football. And those are guys we love to work with."