There's a sickness going around Broncos Country, creeping through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. The sickness is not exclusive to Broncos fans, and it is not exclusive to the team either. This sickness is not your standard winter flu or cold, and it's something that hopefully won't linger for long. Different forms of this disease tend to creep through NFL fan bases each season around this time of year, with different names each year. The sickness that I'm talking about? That is the Ndamukong Suh Flu.
Ndamukong Suh Flu - en-DOM-ah-ken SOO floo- The unwavering belief that your favorite NFL team should and will pursue the former Detroit Lions defensive tackle once NFL free agency opens.
For some unfounded reason, fans of almost every team believe that they are in the running for the most expensive, most talented, or most well-recognized free agents each season. Last season it was Michael Bennett, Darrelle Revis, and Jairus Byrd. In 2013 it was Paul Kruger, Mike Wallace, and Dashon Goldson. Now Ndamukong Suh, the disruptive and divisive defensive tackle of the Detroit Lions, is the player who fans have latched on to the idea of and won't let go. Well, here are three remedies for the Ndamukong Suh Flu.
1. Suh will cost far too much money
The first, most obvious reason for why the Broncos will not pur-Suh the player nicknamed "Donkey Kong" is that the 28-year old defensive tackle is going to demand far too much money on the open market. The money that it would cost to acquire Suh would not only hinder the Broncos in addressing other needs, such as upgrading the offensive line, this off-season, but it would put them in a compromising situation cap-wise for years to come.
Suh's rookie deal in Detroit already had him making the most money of all defensive tackles last season, and there's no way that he is going to accept anything less, or even on the same level as that contract.
Last off-season, JJ Watt signed a record $100 million dollar deal with the Houston Texans, and you better believe that Suh is going to aim for something in the same ballpark. Now, Watt's deal is not exactly backbreaking to the Texans, against whose cap he will cost an average of just over $15M per season over the course of the seven-year deal.
It's difficult to predict exact figures for Suh's upcoming deal; however, it's more than likely that he's looking for more than Watt's $100M deal, and CBS insider Jason LaCanfora recently gave some ballpark figures on Twitter.
Look for Suh deal to be massive. I keep hearing$17M/year and $60M-plus guaranteed. If he doesn't land in Miami won't be for lack of effort— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 6, 2015
This tweet conveniently brings me to the next reason why the Broncos are extremely unlikely to sign Ndamukong Suh.
2. There are teams that are far more interested and wealthy
Both the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders are extremely invested in their pursuit of Suh, with both reportedly pushing very hard for his services. The Dolphins actually have less free cap space than Denver, but the Raiders have more than triple the cap space that the Broncos have and are in a much better position to pursue the nasty defensive tackle. There are 17 teams with more cap space than the Broncos, many of whom are in need of help at defensive tackle and are in a much better position to make a big offer at Suh. It would be practically unfathomable for Broncos' GM John Elway to not have money set aside to address the offensive line issues. With that money likely put away, it's hard to think that there is nearly enough money left over to make a serious push at Suh, especially with opposing teams so eager to sign him.
3. The fit is not right
The Denver Broncos will certainly be in the market for a defensive tackle if they are unable to make a deal with Terrance Knighton, there's no denying that. That being said, the new 3-4 alignment that Wade Phillips intends to instill in Denver requires that the Broncos find a true "0" technique, otherwise known as a nose tackle.
The nose tackle position normally requires the player in this role to eat up two gaps in the middle of the defense, taking on a double-team from the center and guard while still standing up against the run. While Suh was used to double-teams during his time in Detroit, it was often in pass-rushing situations, which is where he excelled as a defensive tackle there. Suh excels at collapsing pockets and disrupting passing plays with a combination of speed and strength, he is not what you'd typically refer to as a run-stuffer.
Wade Phillips has been known to use a smaller, quicker nose tackle in some 3-4 defenses in the past, having the nose tackle shoot just one gap, while making an inside linebacker responsible for the other; however, that is typically used in conjuncture with larger interior linebackers. At this point, the Broncos are likely rolling with Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall at interior linebacker unless another option presents itself. Marshall and Trevathan are not on the larger side of inside linebackers, so it's hard to say which variation of Wade's 3-4 he'll employ in Denver.
All that being said, Suh is far more likely to sign with a team that will use him in the same way that he was used in Detroit, as a pass-rushing 4-3 defensive tackle from the 3-technique position. Both the Raiders and Dolphins, teams which are pursuing him heavily right now use a variation of this system that would allow Suh to continue in his current role.