Monday’s NFL: Ex-Lion Suh joins Rams’ D-line
Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh agreed to a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, joining All-Pro Aaron Donald on a potentially fearsome defensive front.
Suh was released by the Dolphins earlier this month when he declined to restructure his hefty contract after three seasons in Miami. He attracted widespread interest as a free agent before agreeing to join the defending NFC West champion Rams, who have revamped their already solid defense with several impressive offseason additions.
Suh’s deal in Los Angeles is worth $14 million, according to the NFL Network and ESPN. and comes a day after the New York Jets rescinded their offer to the mercurial defensive tackle.
Suh is a five-time Pro Bowl selection during his eight-year career with Detroit and Miami. He is considered one of the NFL’s most impressive defensive linemen, with 511/2 career sacks and excellent run-stopping ability. He also has never missed a game due to injury.
With Suh and Donald playing side by side, the Rams will have a formidable front for defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme. Suh and Michael Brockers should start alongside Donald, the AP’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Suh has never played in a 3-4 alignment during his NFL career, but Phillips specializes in finding ways for outstanding players to shine. He is also much less likely to face double-teams as a pass-rusher while lining up with Donald in a partnership that will stretch most opponents’ blocking abilities to the limit.
Suh visited New Orleans and Tennessee during his free agency tour, and he attracted serious interest from the New York Jets. But the Rams won him over last week after a visit to their suburban training complex and a dinner in Malibu with a front-office group including coach Sean McVay and owner Stan Kroenke.
Suh likely could have made more money with the Titans or Jets, but the Rams are widely considered a team on the rise — and with his arrival on a lucrative one-year deal, the Rams have signaled their determination to compete for the Super Bowl.
The Rams have revamped their defense with proven talent in an effort to raise its performance to the level of McVay’s offense, which led the NFL with 478 points last season in a stunning worst-to-first transformation.
Los Angeles still is working on a contract extension for Donald, who held out through training camp and missed one regular-season game last year.
Suh is an Oregon native who starred at Nebraska before joining the Lions as the second overall pick in the 2010 draft. He became the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history at the time of his six-year, $114 million free-agent deal with the Dolphins.
Suh has repeatedly drawn the ire of opponents and officials with physical play on the edge of legality, yet his only NFL suspension was a two-game ban in 2011 during his second season for stomping on Packers lineman Evan Smith.
Ex-cheerleader claims bias
A former New Orleans Saints cheerleader has filed a discrimination complaint against the NFL team with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Bailey Davis’ EEOC complaint states the team has two sets of rules: one for the cheerleaders, who are all women; another, for the players.
The New York Times report said the Saints anti-fraternization policy requires cheerleaders to avoid contact with players, in person or online, even though players are not penalized for pursuing such engagement with cheerleaders. The cheerleaders must block players from following them on social media and cannot post photos of themselves in Saints gear. The same rules don’t apply to players, the report said.
A team lawyer said in an email to the newspaper that Davis was not subjected to gender discrimination.
Bennett appears on charge
Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro defensive end Michael Bennett surrendered to authorities in Houston on a charge that he injured a paraplegic woman as he tried to get onto the field after last year’s Super Bowl to celebrate with his brother.
Bennett made a brief court appearance Monday where the judge set his bond at $10,000 on a felony count of injury to the elderly. He was expected to post bail and be released.
Prosecutors allege he pushed through security personnel, including a 66-year-old woman in a wheelchair who was a stadium employee.
Kraft denies discord
Every marriage has its ups and downs. So New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft urged everyone not to read too much into any reported discord in his organization. Kraft praised Bill Belichick on Monday when asked about some of the unusual decisions the coach made in the Super Bowl loss to Philadelphia.
As for any split among owner, coach and star quarterback, Kraft said he has learned to work with “a strong and powerful coach.”
Browns sign Stanton
The Cleveland Browns have agreed to a two-year contact with free agent quarterback Drew Stanton, an alum of Michigan State and Farmington Hills Harrison High School.
Stanton was originally drafted by the Detroit Lions in the second round in 2007. He went 2-2 as a starter over three years. He has spent the past four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. He went 3-1 in four starts last season.