Why the Chargers should pass on Ndamukong Suh
There aren’t many reasons for the Los Angeles Chargers to not sign Suh if they have the opportunity to do so, but the reasons listed below are all legit.
Tom Telesco deems building a locker room culture as a very important part of assembling a team. That is well known. There have been many instances where players aren’t signed or drafted by the team because of concerns about their character.
There have also been players who are brought to be leaders of a locker room, and even one of the main reasons that head coach Anthony Lynn was signed over other candidates was because he is a leader who would come in and establish a culture.
Suh’s fit in the Chargers’ locker room is questionable. After all, he doesn’t have a great reputation among the NFL. He was named the least-liked player in the October 2012 Nielsen report and he was also voted as the dirtiest player in the NFL by his fellow players in a poll by the Sporting News. During his first four years in the league, he accumulated a total of $216,875 in fines.
However, his reputation has died down a little since he left the Miami Dolphins and his game infractions have gone down, even as the league rules have harshened in recent years.
That decline in his penalties can be attributed to his decline in production and could be another reason to pass on him. However, his decline in production can also be attributed to a scheme change. He averaged 6.4 sacks in his first eight years in the league while playing in a 4-3 scheme.
In 2018, he only got 4.5 sacks while playing in a 3-4 scheme. While he had Aaron Donald alongside him to draw attention, he also played nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme, a position not asked to do much penetration.
He then went to Tampa Bay to play again in a 3-4 scheme, this time as a defensive end. Here, it’s a little disturbing that he only managed 1.5 sacks across 12 games. Could age be catching up to him?
It may be a risky investment to pay a 33-year-old player who has already seen a decrease in production. Suh signed one-year deals in both 2018 and 2019. At 33, would he still sign a one-year contract? His contract with the Buccaneers was worth $9.25 million for one year.
A realistic expectation is that due to his age and his decline, his market value will be lower this time around, but the player may expect a multi-year deal to compensate for the pay cut. The Chargers should be able to sign him with a 2-year contract worth around $13 or $14 million, or maybe lower, since Los Angeles and SoFi Stadium make for an attractive free-agent destination.
So, should the Los Angeles Chargers sign or pass on Ndamukong Suh?
The answer: Sign