Which NFL team got the best deal on a DL this offseason?
Calais Campbell was a Pro Bowl pass rusher who left the Arizona Cardinals for the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency. His payoff was huge – a $60 million contract with half of it guaranteed – but so was the dividend he gave the Jaguars. Campbell collected an NFL runnerup 14 ½ sacks and Jacksonville vaulted all the way to second in the NFL in sacks in winning their its AFC South title in 17 years.
Will there be another Calais Campbell in 2018? That’s the subject of our weekly Talk of Fame Network poll – who was the best defensive lineman acquired this offseason? Pro Bowlers galore changed teams in search of that missing piece up front for a playoff defense. Here are your options:
Michael Bennett, DE, Philadelphia. Age: 32. Contract: (inherited in trade): 3 years, $15.5 million. Bennett has gone to the Pro Bowl each of the last three seasons with the Seahawks. But he became part of an offseason overhaul that saw Seattle rid itself of past Pro Bowlers Bennett, Richard Sherman and Jimmy Graham. Bennett has only reached double figures in sacks once in his nine-year career, collecting 10 in 2015. He’s coming off an 8 ½ sack season a year ago.
Star Lotulelei, DT, Buffalo. Age: 28. Contract: 5 years, $50 million, $24.6 million guaranteed. Lotuleiei fills the hole at tackle created last fall when the Bills traded Marcell Dareus to Jacksonville. The Carolina Panthers selected Lotulelei with the 14th overall pick of the 2013 draft and he supplied the wide body in the middle that helped Carolina finish in the Top 10 in run defense in four of his five seasons. As far as his pass rush, his career best was four sacks in 2016.
Robert Quinn, DE, Miami. Age: 27. Contract (inherited in trade): 2 years, $22.14 million. Quinn finished with a team runnerup 8 ½ sacks last season for the NFC West champion Los Angeles Rams. That was playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme of Wade Phillips. He was at his best as a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, hitting double figures in sacks for three consecutive seasons (10 ½ in 2012, 19 in 2015 and 10 ½ in 2014) and going to two Pro Bowls. He’ll move back to end with the Dolphins.
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Tampa Bay. Age: 29. Contract (inherited in trade): 3 years, $35.75 million. Following a 3-13 season by the Giants, new general manager Dave Gettleman began cleaning up his salary cap by trading Pierre-Paul to the Buccaneers. He’s a two-time Pro Bowl pass rusher – but hasn’t been invited to the annual all-star game for five seasons now. He had 16 ½ sacks in his second season and 12 ½ in 2014 but that was before his hand injury in 2015. He collected 8 ½ sacks in 2017.
Ndamukong Suh, DT, LA Rams. Age: 31. Contract: 1 year, $14 million. The Dolphins made Suh the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history in 2015 when they signed him to a six-year, $114 million contract with $60 million of it guaranteed. But in his three seasons the Dolphins lost more games (26) than they won (22). After finishing in the middle of the pack on defense in 2017, Miami released Suh and he signed with the Rams. He’s a five-time Pro Bowl selection who brings 51 ½ career sacks to the Rams.