Two years, two one-season contracts: Will Ndamukong Suh sign a deal similar to his previous two agreements with the Buccaneers in order to return to Tampa Bay in 2021?
The Bucs would surely hope so, as Suh was an instrumental of the defensive core a season ago, leading Tampa Bay in tackles for loss by a defensive lineman. However, his asking price on such a contract will be of utmost importance while general manager Jason Licht attempts to retain a Super Bowl-winning roster with a multitude of free agents and limited camp space.
To preview the Buccaneers' offseason, we're creating profiles for each impending free agent before the new league year begins. If provided, each player will have a market value projection included via Spotrac.com, along with arguments for and against a potential new contract.
DE Ndamukong Suh
2020 stats (including playoffs): 20 games, 54 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, two pass breakups, 62 QB pressures (per Pro Football Focus)
Previous contract: One year, $8 million
Spotrac market value: $6.8 million annually
At 34 years old, Ndamukong Suh isn't getting any younger. It's safe to assume he's realized this by signing back-to-back one-year contracts with the Buccaneers as well as a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Rams in 2018.
As Suh ages, his annual value is decreasing as well, which is something that the Buccaneers can utilize at the bargaining table while pursuing his services. Suh's average salary has tanked by $6 million over the past two seasons, despite consistently dependable play.
Suh has steadily served as a space-eater among Tampa Bay's defensive line during that span, opening up rushing and stunting opportunities for his fellow rushers by demanding the attention of opposing offensive linemen. Suh's brute strength remains a strong point in his game and is a large factor in the Buccaneers' league-leading run defense.
Still, there is only so much money to go around, and Tampa Bay is in no position to overpay for an aging veteran, even on a one-year deal within a Super Bowl window. Suh's camp will need to be flexible with its demands in order for the dominant defensive end to chase another ring with the Bucs, but recent history suggests he'll be willing to hear out a reduced salary.
Expect Tampa Bay to address its defensive line early in the 2021 NFL Draft, regardless of if Suh returns or not at this point. Suh could serve as an excellent mentor to his future replacement next season and depth will always be welcomed in the trenches.