Yes, we’re doing this again. Almost one year ago we asked the question “Should the Lions bring back Ndamukong Suh?” A year ago the answer to that question was yes. This year we’re not even going to ask the question. We’re just flat out saying that the Lions should bring back Ndamukong Suh.
Why would the Lions do that in the beginning of what appears to be a total rebuild? That’s a good question. Despite general manager Brad Holmes declaring the Lions game plan as a retool, it’s a rebuild without a doubt. The Lions have the worst defense in the league and a defensive line that gives fans shivers down their backs for all the wrong reasons. But with Suh, it’s not a rebuild, it’s a retool.
Calm down. Let me explain. Part of my way of thinking here is all Dan Campbell’s fault. It was Dan Campbell that’s fallen in love with guys like Jarrad Davis. It was Campbell who’s made a lot of mention about how the current players were coached poorly by the previous regime. When you hear stuff like this, it leads you to believe the Lions are going to wind up keeping a lot of the current defensive roster instead of spending a ton of money on free agents. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll use the draft, too, but it seems like Lions fans will see a lot of familiar faces around town in 2021.
Which brings us to Suh. Having Suh on the field is like having a player/coach on the field. Here’s a guy who has done everything that any defensive player wants to do. He’s won awards, he’s been an All-Pro, he’s been to the Pro Bowl, he’s won a Super Bowl and most importantly, he’s made a lot of money.
Bringing in someone like that to this group can only help. This is a guy players can look to for help and look to for answers. The Lions aren’t getting a guy that’s going to make a Pro Bowl for them in 2021. This is no longer that kind of signing. This is all about someone who can come into the locker room and help build a culture. Suh’s your inside man if you’re a head coach. He’s the guy other players will listen to.
Suh may also come cheap. When we proposed that Suh sign with the Lions last year, the former Lions defensive tackle was coming off a one-year deal that had plenty of stipulations, but ultimately wound being $9.25 million for a year. We speculated that he would get a smaller deal in 2020 and he sure did. The Buccaneers signed Suh to a one-year deal for $8 million. The Lions can surely cut that number down even further.
Oh yeah, there’s just one more thing. It might actually happen this time because the connections are everywhere. Sure it’s not enough that Suh loves Detroit and recently told new Lions quarterback Jared Goff how great it is, but he also already played for Dan Campbell when he was the Dolphins interim head coach and thinks he’s “a great guy.” He was also signed by the Rams when new Lions assistant general manager Ray Agnew was the Los Angeles’ director of pro personnel. Wait there’s more. New Lions defensive assistant Kelvin Sheppard played linebacker for the Dolphins in Suh’s first year in Miami. It’s like the Lions were built to bring Suh back or something.
There’s definitely a big hurdle to overcome though. Suh reportedly has expressed that he would like to stay in Tampa Bay. But in this case it may not be up to him. The Super Bowl Champions have 30 soon-to-be free agents. Thirty! Some of those guys like Lavonte David or Shaquil Barrett are going to take precedence, and the Bucs only have so much money to spend.
It should be interesting to see where this goes. The draw is easy for the Lions. But why would Suh want to do this? I think it’s chance to cement a legacy in a positive way. As we all know, Suh’s been called one of the league’s dirtier players for a while. It’s hard to argue against that given his rap sheet during and after his time in Detroit.
If Suh were to come in as a mentor after all that he’s achieved, maybe people forget about all that dirty stuff and remember a true team player. I guess we’ll see what happens. Alright, see you next year when we write part three of this series.