ESPN expert: Five possible landing spots for Lions' Suh
As a free agent, Ndamukong Suh could command a six-year, $100 million contract with $50 million in guarantees similarly bestowed upon Bills lineman/linebacker Mario Williams in 2012, writes ESPN's Field Yates.
But what teams are willing to pony up such a princely sum?
Yates believes it comes down to need and financial flexibility, and cites five possible landing spots for the 6-foot-4, 305-pound defensive tackle.
1. Oakland Raiders, Yates writes: "The Raiders aren't just one player away from competing, but the fit makes sense. From the team side, new head coach Jack Del Rio led a defense in Jacksonville (where he was head coach from 2003 to 2011) that at its best was run through its defensive tackles: John Henderson and Marcus Stroud, both high first-round picks. The Raiders, using a very conservative estimate of a 2015 salary cap of $140 million, will have north of $50 million in cap space."
2. Cleveland Browns: "Much like Oakland, the Browns have an estimated $50 million-plus in cap space for next season. They also had poor defensive line play in 2014, some of which was due to injuries to key cogs (nose tackle Phil Taylor played in just five games). Suh is best cast as a 4-3 defensive tackle, but that isn't to say he couldn't play in a 3-4 defense, which Cleveland runs."
3. Cincinnati Bengals: "This may come as a surprise after the team signed defensive tackle Geno Atkins to a mega-deal at the start of the 2013 season and then last offseason extended veteran Domata Peko through 2016, but I think it's fair to say the perception of the Bengals' defensive line has changed since that time."
4. Chicago Bears: "Adam Schefter reported that the Bears would be among the teams with interest in Suh, and the fit makes sense. Veteran Jeremiah Ratliff had a nice bounce-back season in 2014, but he has just one year left on his deal. The team drafted a pair of defensive tackles in Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton last year, the latter of whom adds some pass-rushing juice from the interior. But Suh would be a difference-maker for a defense that needs a facelift at all three levels."
5. Detroit Lions: "It may be unlikely, but clearly Suh would be a dominant force if he returned to Detroit. A long-term deal would likely have to be led by a low 2015 cap number. When the Saints signed coveted safety Jairus Byrd last offseason, they structured his contract with a low cap number for the first season ($3.5 million), accomplished in part through a significant signing bonus, a minimal base salary in 2014 and then a large roster bonus in 2015 ($6 million)."