At this point in his career, free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is likely only interested in joining teams with legitimate chances at reaching the Super Bowl. Suh’s decision to join the Los Angeles Rams for the 2018 season proved that. Now that Suh is once again hitting the free agent market, one possible team that could go after him is the New England Patriots.
No other team has the near-guarantee chances of making a Super Bowl appearance like the Patriots do, reaching the game’s ultimate stage in each of the last three years as well as nine times in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era. If Suh wants to make the most of the remaining years of his career and the Patriots show interest in him, it would be a dream fit for both parties involved.
Suh had a relatively slow season and only accounted for 4.5 sacks, but it was what he did that doesn’t go on the stat sheets that made him a difference maker. Suh’s presence helped teammate Aaron Donald get free more often, as the Rams’ superstar defensive tackle won the Defensive Player of the Year award for the second straight year. Donald had 20.5 sacks, good enough for his career high and the record by a defensive tackle while flirting with Michael Strahan’s overall sack record as the season progressed.
Despite Suh’s lackluster season in regards to statistics, there are a couple aspects of his game that nobody can take away from him. Suh hasn’t missed a game since 2011, which was his second season in the league, and his presence can simply not be ignored on the field. Even though Donald obviously had the better season, it’s the fact that Suh was on the line next to him that helped him have the success he had. Suh also stepped up big-time in the postseason as the Rams made their run to the big game.
If Suh wants to make a serious run at another Super Bowl, his best chances lie with either team that were just in the big game this past season. The Patriots need a defensive presence like Suh more than the Rams currently do. Unless the Rams reach an agreement to extend Suh and keep their pass rush intact, he would fit in very well and thrive with the Patriots.
New England doesn’t love to spend on high-priced free agents, but for a short-term deal that doesn’t handicap the franchise in the future, it makes sense to take the risk (which is limited given his durability). The window to win with Brady continues to defy logic, but it would be a disservice not to go all in.
New England has some fantastic players on defense including Dont’a Hightower, Stephen Gilmore, Kyle Van Noy, and Patrick Chung. The Patriots also have reaped the benefits of defensive standout Trey Flowers, but he is also a free agent heading into the 2019 season. The Patriots would be wise to retain Flowers and sign Suh to push their defense over the edge as they look for a record seventh Lombardi Trophy.