In the five years Ndamukong Suh spent with the Detroit Lions, he developed into a superstar—an All-Pro defensive tackle who could change the outcome of entire possessions with his disruptive pass rush. It was, in no uncertain terms, a mutually beneficial partnership for a half-decade.
But the relationship between Suh and the Lions was not without its warts. Suh was disciplined multiple times for hostile on-field actions, and the atmosphere behind the scenes with management was never thought to be the smoothest.
Eventually, this became a marriage destined to end. It came as no surprise when he left as a free agent for the Miami Dolphins in 2015, signing a six-year, $114 million contract. This proved to be a good move for his on-field reputation. He wasn’t fined once during the time he spent with the Dolphins.
Miami would cut Suh in 2018, not because he was washed, but because the team wasn’t at a point in its development where it made sense to pay an over-30 tackle superstar money. Suh has since opted for two one-year deals—the first with the Los Angeles Rams, and the second with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Now, he finds himself entering free agency again. And with the Lions working off a season in which they ranked 26th in points allowed per game, more than a few people are wondering whether he could be in line for a return.
The short answer is…no.
Not only did Suh leave Detroit under less-than-warm circumstances, but the Lions are on the verge of entering a major rebuild. Some wonder whether quarterback Matthew Stafford’s days might be numbered, and the team itself is coming off a three-win season in which they missed the playoffs for a third consecutive year.
Suh is best suited in a situation where he has access to a playoff chase. Those squads are more likely to meet his expected asking price, and it will be easier for him to make a difference with other talented defensive players around him.
One team to consider on this front: The Seattle Seahawks. They’ve hemorrhaged defensive talent over the past few seasons. Suh isn’t going to generate the same number of sacks per year that he did in his prime, but he is absolutely disruptive enough to put pressure on the quarterback and tighten up their run defense.
If it’s not the Seahawks, it will be another team that pays Suh—just not the Lions.