Cleveland Browns cannot let fear keep them from pursuing Ndamukong Suh.
Give yourself enough time, and you will be able to talk yourself out of just about anything. Maybe, just maybe, the love of your life is not, in fact, your soulmate and the person you should be with until death forever separates you. Perhaps accepting that job right out of high school and not furthering your education is the right move. Taking that overseas vacation doesn’t make all that much sense at the moment, and, besides, you can go on that journey at any point of your life.
The Cleveland Browns don’t have to do whatever possible to sign Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh on March 10.
Diehard National Football League fans are, full disclosure, in the middle of one of the more boring offseasons in recent memory. The upcoming NFL Draft is void of fascinating storylines so long as Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston behaves himself between now and April 30. A majority of the players ranked in the top-ten of potential free agents were, as expected, franchised by their clubs, and those who weren’t have questions hovering over them. Just how much does cornerback Darrelle Revis have left in the tank, and how much money is he worth? Is spending cap space on DeMarco Murray, a running back with a history of injury concerns and fumble-itis, a wise investment? Greg Hardy can be a dominating defensive end, sure, but is he worth all of the baggage that he will bring to any club he joins?
It is when those who follow the Browns take some deep breaths and allow sanity to reign that the realization hits that Cleveland attempting to sign Suh is not only a wise; failing to reach out to him would be illogical for the Browns, and that reality is easy to see upon examining the arguments against Cleveland making the biggest splash of his free agency class.
Suh could be the next Albert Haynesworth.
They both play the same position. That is about where the comparisons end. Haynesworth was rarely, if ever, dedicated to the cause of winning and of earning anything outside of a massive payday upon entering free agency. He only ever appeared in all 16 games of a season once; his rookie year in the league. Suh, on the other hand, has missed two regular season games since he was selected by the Lions in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Nobody questioned Suh’s work ethic coming out of college, and no such concerns have ever arisen outside of those wanting to mention Haynesworth.
Suh will eventually get suspended.
Did I mention that Suh hasn’t missed a single regular season game in three seasons? Yes, he was almost suspended for Detroit’s playoff encounter versus the Dallas Cowboys only a couple of months ago, but, as the saying goes, almost only counts in (add your own punchline, there are plenty of them). Suh can get almost-suspended in 16 regular season and “x” amount of playoff contests a year so long as he avoids a ban each and every time.
Suh is the player referenced by head coach Mike Pettine since Pettine first voiced his “play like a Brown” mantra upon taking the Cleveland gig last winter. Suh is physical. He’s nasty. He’ll do whatever it takes to get an advantage, including bending the rules from time to time. Suh is the tough and gritty defensive lineman needed to win those cold December AFC North games that make or break playoff dreams.
The Browns should spend the money on other needs
As has been reported by national and local media since even before the conclusion of the 2014 NFL regular season, the Browns are going to have a ton of cap space come next week, so much so that signing Suh would not break the bank for Cleveland. Heck, the Browns could sign Suh and STILL have enough room to make the trade for Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (the Browns won’t make that move, but one can dream).
Suh is the only player remaining who wasn’t franchised that is worth going all-in on. A team that has troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon on indefinite league suspension is likely staying clear of the previously mentioned Hardy. None of the other defensive linemen available are in the same class as Suh.
But the Browns play a 3-4 and Suh would be forced to play out of position
What say you, Suh’s NFL Combine report?
Suh has proven himself capable of being stellar versus the run and against the pass in the pros. He would, before the ink on the paper of his contract had dried, be the best defensive player (sorry, Joe Haden) on the Browns. Assuming that the Browns would not get the best out of Suh in the team’s current defensive scheme is a criticism of Pettine not being able to help the player make the adjustment.
There are always legitimate reasons to play it safe in free agency, even for a team that hasn’t reached .500 in seven consecutive campaigns. It is entirely possible that this matter will take care of itself and that the Browns will be outbid, or that Suh will, for whatever reasons, choose to play elsewhere. Cleveland general manager Ray Farmer absolutely has to get Suh to at least have a meal in northeast Ohio. What a meeting that could turn out to mean for the Browns.
The Gateway District is nice anytime of year.
For more: Updated Browns NFL Mock Draft
Zac has been covering the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and National Football League for a variety of websites since 2006. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America.