Why the Chargers should sign Ndamukong Suh
The interior of the Los Angeles Chargers’ defensive line is mostly inexperienced. Other than Brandon Mebane, the only other defensive tackles on the roster are 23-year-olds Jerry Tillery, Justin Jones and Cortez Broughton.
That highlights just how thin the Chargers are right now at the position. They also have pending free agents in Damion Square and Sylvester Williams, who are both 31 years old. Mebane is also a candidate to be cut, which would incur a penalty of $2 million dollars but save $4.25 million.
With just three players under contract at the position, one of whom is a candidate to be cut, Tom Telesco has an opportunity to address the position in multiple ways. He can draft one or two guys, resign his players, or look to free agency to land either a starter or depth.
Regardless of whether Mebane retires or is cut, he is not good enough to be a starter anymore. There is no other player in the roster who can play the nose tackle position. Jones has previously filled in at nose tackle, but his ideal alignment is the 3-technique, not 1-tech.
Suh himself had lined up at 3-tech almost exclusively while in Miami and Detroit, with some snaps at defensive end sprinkled in. That all changed when he signed for the Rams in 2018. There, he came and played mostly nose tackle or 0-technique in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme.
So while he shouldn’t be signed to be starting at nose tackle, his versatility to play all over the line can prove very beneficial for Gus Bradley’s defense. He can also teach a thing or two to Tillery, who was drafted to be a disruptive force in the middle of the defensive line, much like Suh has been his entire career.
After playing in a 3-4 scheme for the last two years, a return to the 4-3 scheme he had played since college could be favorable for the veteran. His impact on the defense probably won’t be seen in the stat sheets as much as it did in his early career, but his mere presence on the field can do wonders for Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.
Last but not least, the media impact of signing a star player like Suh can only be good for a team looking to grow its fanbase in Los Angeles as they move to SoFi Stadium. A recognizable name such as Ndamukong Suh can help turn people’s heads the Chargers’ way, as well as improve jersey sales and attendance.