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Can Jon Gruden lure Ndamukong Suh into the Black Hole?

By Jacob Feldman
March 21, 2018

If Jon Gruden really wants to "throw the game back to 1998," the perfect man to do the tossing is visiting the Raiders in a matter of hours. Ndamukong Suh's free agency tour continues Wednesday with a trip to Oakland after previous stops in Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Tennessee. Suh would help a defense that finished 29th in Football Outsiders' efficiency ranking last year, fortifying a defensive front that already features Khalil Mack. And he might give Gruden flashbacks.

When Chucky first took the Raiders reins 20 years ago this offseason, he had a foundational piece in 325-pound defensive tackle Darrell Russell, the No. 2 overall pick in 1997. Russell was Oakland's only first team all-pro player in Gruden's first year, and he had another Pro Bowl year in '99 before failed drug tests derailed his career. Only one DT has gone in the top two picks since then: Suh. We also know GM Reggie McKenzie and owner Mark Davis are fans of the game-wrecker and rules-stomper. They reportedly made a big push for him in 2015 before he signed with the Dolphins.

There's a good chance they will ultimately lose out on him again. Fellow suitors like the Rams and Titans have more cap room, and that's not factoring in the mega-deal Mack will soon be getting. Still the Raiders are going to make a strong push (Bruce Irvin and Marshawn Lynch's mom already have), because Suh would turbo-charge Gruden's plans.

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PRESS COVERAGE

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1. Last week, the Steelers cut three members of the secondary. Now they've added a new piece, signing former Green Bay safety Morgan Burnett to a three-year deal.

2. A new eight-team football league will be launching a week after the Super Bowl, with big names like Bill Polian and Troy Polamalu attached, and big money coming from the likes of Peter Thiel's Founder's Fund.

3. Danny Heifetz dove into the specifics of contract restructuring to see who did it right this month (like the Eagles), and who may have regrets this time next year (like the Dolphins).

4. Jonathan Martin has pleaded not guilty to four felony counts of making criminal threats.

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5. The Jaguars are releasing wideout Allen Hurns and tight end Marcedes Lewis—the longest-tenured Jag. Lewis said, "I think I deserved a little better than I got."

6. Nicki Jhabvala delves into the journey Case Keenum took to Denver, and the pivotal role Gary Kubiak has now played twice for the QB.

7. Speaking about Eric Reid's continued free agency, new 49er Richard Sherman said, "We are concerned because he played at a high level for just about every year that he’s played in this league . . . He’s made enough plays to be signed with a team and to make his money. He deserves his money. If safeties make a certain amount, I would think he’s top five, top 10 safeties in this league." Sherman, an NFLPA executive committee member, said we could see the union discuss legal action if Reid continues to be passed over.

8. John Fox is headed to ESPN.

9. With his $29 million contract in Baltimore voided after a failed physical, Ryan Grant has now settled with the Colts for $5 million.

10. This story is for those of you have been left feeling particularly despondent about your team's chances following free agency: Is Fandom Really Worth It?

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THE KICKER

If March Madness has you looking for a longshot, Tony Romo is +150,000 to win this week's Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Golf Championship.

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