On Saturday, the three-day period opens for agent Jimmy Sexton to negotiate with teams other than the Lions on behalf of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. It would be naive to assume negotiations haven’t already happened.
Some have linked teams like the Giants and Washington to Suh. Many believe a team that currently has no national relevance will pursue Suh in an effort to transform the franchise, generate excitement, sell tickets, and ultimately hope that more games will be won.
There’s one team that remains somewhat nationally relevant thanks to a pair of Super Bowl trophies from the ’70s and the exploits of players like Dan Marino. But with one playoff appearance since 2002, an annual sense of 8-8-at-best malaise, an owner who has wanted to recharge the franchise since getting the keys to it, and a new executive V.P. of football operations who may be looking to make a splash, keep a close eye on the Miami Dolphins as a potential destination for Suh.
There’s talk that the Dolphins will emerge as the leaders for Suh, and that teams like the Raiders, Jaguars, and Buccaneers are being floated not as serious candidates but as leverage. Ultimately, it may come down to the Dolphins bidding against themselves as Suh and Sexton try to set the bar for defensive players as high as they can.
Owner Stephen Ross has tried unsuccessfully to land a big name over the last four years. From Jim Harbaugh to Peyton Manning to Jeff Fisher, the Dolphins have yet to make anything happen. With Suh quite possibly chasing the best offer he gets and getting a chance to head to a city with South Beach and a state with no income taxes, it’s not a stretch to see Suh wearing on his helmet a logo featuring a mammal that has no arms or legs on which to stomp.
If Suh ends up in South Florida, the AFC East would get only more interesting. The Patriots continue to be the Patriots. The Bills are poised to add running back LeSean McCoy, a move that suggests Rex Ryan and company have plenty more up their sleeves. And the Jets seem to be serious about trying to upgrade through the kind of serious spending they haven’t done in recent years, with no secret being made of their desire to bring Darrelle Revis home.
Yes, the AFC East may not be the best division in the NFL. But it’s the most interesting. It got a lot more interesting with this Tuesday’s news of the LeSean McCoy trade. It could get a whole lot more interesting if next Tuesday’s news includes Suh going to Miami.