Dolphins Sign Ndamukong Suh
The Dolphins yet again broke the bank in free agency, signing DT Ndamukong Suh to a mammoth six-year, $114 million deal with $60 million in guaranteed money. Suh gets what’s essentially quarterback pay at an average of over $19 million per year, which blows J.J. Watt’s contract numbers out of the water.
In Suh, Miami lands a player who over the last three seasons has blossomed into arguably the league’s most complete defensive tackle. Though not quite as dominant a pass rusher as Gerald McCoy, Suh was just as disruptive from the interior in 2014. Suh averaged 3.6 QB pressures (sum of sacks, hits, and hurries) per game last season to 3.5 per game for McCoy.
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What separates Suh from the pack is his ability to also play at an elite level against the run. Only Marcell Dareus graded out better against the run than Suh in 2014.
Of course, Suh leaves a Detroit defense that he helped become one of the league’s strongest units in 2014. With Suh and Nick Fairley out of the picture, the Lions acquired Haloti Ngata, sparking widespread rumors that Detroit will be switching to a 3-4 base defense. Nothing has been confirmed at this point, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Lions run a multiple-front defense that shifts from game to game.
An all out shift to a 3-4 would be the worst-case scenario for Ziggy Ansah owners, as the young edge player would likely be reclassified as a linebacker for fantasy purposes. Ansah’s low tackle ceiling would essentially push him to the margins of fantasy value in all but big play scoring leagues. While some fantasy owners may have concerns for DeAndre Levy, a shift to a 3-4 would likely have minimal impact on his fantasy value.
Suh joins a Dolphins unit that graded out well in 2014 despite having to rely on a patchwork linebacker corps and a somewhat suspect secondary. His presence on the interior provides an immediate boost for Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon on the edges. Already one of the leagues most threatening pass rushing duos, both players are good bets for double-digit sacks in 2015.
As for Suh, his value doesn’t change much for IDP purposes despite heading to South Beach. In DT-required leagues, Suh remains one of the handful of players worth considering as an elite fantasy option. In leagues with a defensive line position, Suh’s mid-range sack ceiling prevents him from being anything more than a borderline DL2.
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Assistant Managing Editor and resident IDP maven of PFF Fantasy.