In what will be the news of the day in San Diego, it has become known that the Chargers will be bidding for the services of prized free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Take a look at this tweet from leading NFL insider Ian Rappaport:
How can you not love that? Sure, it’s nowhere near a done deal but the Chargers are making it known they are going to be in the mix for Suh. We’ve watched GM Tom Telesco work wonders with the Chargers salary cap for two seasons where he’s had nothing but pocket change to spend on players. Finally unburdened of the bad contracts left over from the previous regime, the Chargers have over 30 million in cap space and we’re all curious to see how Telesco spends with a pocket full of Benjamins.
Suh is the biggest and most expensive free agent on the market and for good reason. He is literally a franchise changing player. At 6’4, 305 Suh is the most dominant nose tackle in the game and easily one of the top five defensive players in the league.
Known for his brute power, Suh commands double teams every play and is a disruptive force in the middle of the line. Suh is a run-stopping, quarterback sacking mountain of a man who plays with a primal rage that has seen him get fined by the league multiple times.
What does this say about the Chargers?
One, the Chargers know there is a big hole at the nose tackle position and there is no one better to plug that hole than Suh. Two, the Chargers are not afraid to break the bank for a franchise player. Suh turned 28 in January and is entering his sixth season. Just entering his prime, Suh has only missed two games in his career (in 2011) and has already logged 239 tackles and 36 sacks. He is the anchor that Chargers haven’t had since Jamaal Williams and he’s the biggest free agent to hit the open market since Reggie White for those reasons. Three, it says the Chargers are ready to win NOW. You don’t bring in a player of this caliber with a five-year plan in mind.
The Chargers are on the precipice of making waves in the playoffs. What’s stopped them? Defense has been a big issue. The Chargers have ranked 32nd, 17th, 24th, 10th, 24th in total defense in the last five seasons. Suh holding down the middle of the field means favorable one-one-one matchups for pass rushers like Corey Liuget, Melvin Ingram, Dwight Freeney, Donald Butler and Jerry Attaochu. With Suh collapsing the pocket on the quarterback and/or ball carrier, it creates opportunity for sacks and turnovers. So much attention will be applied to him that rushers will be able to get to the ball.
Suh doesn’t fix everything that’s wrong with the defense but his presence allows defensive coordinator John Pagano a wealth of flexibility and creativity in his play calling knowing that there is a brick wall in the middle of his defense. The pass rush gets better, which means the secondary can also play more instinctively knowing the opposing quarterback has less time to throw.
This move, should it come to pass, says the Chargers are all in for getting the mainstays like Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Eric Weddle, Malcom Floyd their Super Bowl opportunity. It says the Chargers are serious about providing star power that fans will want to come out and see, in San Diego. Even if it doesn’t come to pass, if they do make a serious offer it should show the fan base they’re committed to getting a championship sooner than later.
What about Suh’s baggage?
Suh is the classic example of the player everyone hates until he’s wearing your team’s colors. He’s a beast and his overly aggressive style of play has made him the most reviled player in the league. That reputation now becomes the Chargers’ reputation; a defense no one wants to play against. As long as Suh produces, the extra curricular activities however Raider-esque they are, can be overlooked.
What about the money?
If you got it, spend it. I applaud this move. The Chargers aren’t going to throw chump change at B plus players, they’re shooting at the top stars with a ‘Why not us’ mentality and that is encouraging to me as a Chargers fan. With Telesco handling the proceedings, when Suh comes to town, I don’t expect him to leave.
Now about that championship….
The Greg One