The energetic chants of “Suuuuh!” whenever Ndamukong Suh makes a great play at Ford Field are wonderful; they aren’t worthy of a Geno Atkins like contract of 55 million dollars though.
Face it Lions fans, Suh may have to walk. The defensive tackle is a freakish athlete, bordering on becoming one of the greatest in the NFL. However, the Lions’ salary cap already suffocates from the hefty contracts of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. Signing Suh to a Geno Atkins-like five-year extension worth 55 million isn’t worth it; it’s nowhere near beneficial.
Saying that Suh doesn’t amplify the defense would be ignorant; he’s beneficial, making the defensive line a somewhat powerful force. Suh still isn’t worthy of that money, especially with how much help Detroit’s defense begs for. For as dominating as people claim he is, Detroit hasn’t been in the top-10 for sacks through his tenure. Sacks aren’t everything, but with as much talent as Detroit has with a player like Suh and other linemen, they need to be doing a heck of a lot more. Detroit’s defense blew over five fourth quarter leads this season, failing to stop teams when it mattered most. Suh and this defense couldn’t make a play to save a game; opposing offenses marched the ball at will.
He had a very good year this season, assisting the Lions’ defense to a top-10 spot against the run. Suh does have a bad tendency to take plays off, though he’s gotten somewhat better. He’s known to be very dirty, taking things a bit too far at points. He’s even been accused of being overly brutal with teammates. Suh doesn’t seem to love football; he’s reluctant to improve his game, appearing as if football isn’t as much of a love to him as it appears.
Overall, he’s a really good player. Here’s something that could help Detroit’s defense more: other talented players. How many fourth quarter meltdowns would’ve happened if the Lions had better players at cornerback, safety, and linebacker? With that much money freed, Detroit could acquire quality talent at numerous positions. The secondary could look more refined than ever, their linebackers could get an extra player to solidify the unit, and Detroit’s defensive line would still have talent.
Detroit’s defense will struggle at grasping success if it continues on like this. Suh and this front were the same front that didn’t aid the Lions’ eight-game losing streak in 2012. The defensive line on this team is overrated. They couldn’t make plays when it was needed. The secondary was left out to dry, dangling over a balcony on many occasions.
Nick Fairley, and Ezekial Ansah — both first round picks, could make this line a respectable unit, especially under the discipline of coach Jim Caldwell and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. How different would the Lions’ defense be with a playmaker at cornerback, linebacker, and safety? It’d look much better than it does now. They’d give up less leads and they’d increase their turnover rates. Teams such as the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers succeeded mightily when they let their top defensive lineman go; Detroit can have the same fate. Suh is a good player; Detroit’s defense could be great without him, gaining talent in all areas.