The Ndamukong Suh Staredown Continues

May 23rd, 2022

Still out there.

At this point, Joe is starting to think this is just a game of chicken. The one not to buckle wins.

On one end is Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht. On the other end is beastly defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh. In-between the two is an hourglass. When the sands empty, training camp begins.

If there is any chatter between the Bucs and Suh’s people, it is really on the down-low. There is nothing on social media about any talks. Absolutely nothing.

Suh is a businessman. Always has been. He will play whoever a check is cut. Suh has made tens of millions of dollars using this tactic since leaving the Lions and playing for the Dolphins or the Rams or the Bucs.

In Joe’s eyes, Suh has been sort of under the radar with the Bucs. He’s no longer the pass rusher he once was and that’s OK. The Bucs don’t demand a lot of sacks from him. Oh, Suh can still rush the passer at times. Just ask Aaron Rodgers. So he still has juice in the tank and had six sacks last season.

In a recent review of rosters, Gregg Rosenthal of typed that in a rotation, Rosenthal believes Suh, 35, can still be a solid if not good defensive lineman.

Free agent Ndamukong Suh is another Buc with a ring who could return by training camp. He could rotate with Logan Hall, Rakeem Nunez-Roches and William Gholston, who should all get 300-600 snaps even if they aren’t exactly every-down starters.

Including his final year with the Rams, Suh’s snap counts have dropped each year. From 888 in 2018 to 717 last season. So too has Suh’s percentage of play each year starting in 2018.

Still, Suh played more snaps last year than any Bucs defensive lineman. (If you count outside linebacker as linemen, Shaq Barrett had 50 more snaps.)

Suh has never missed a game due to an injury. So if he doesn’t return you are losing one of the most durable guys in NFL history. And what cannot be measured is how he works with younger players.

For example, when Suh first came to Tampa Bay, Joe noticed during underwear football Suh was always talking to Will Gholston. Always giving him tips. Always demonstrating moves and techniques.

Gholston has had his best years in the NFL since Todd Bowles took over the defense in 2019. It’s also when Suh showed up. Coincidence? Joe doesn’t believe in them when it comes to football.

And remember, Suh is the guy who told Vita Vea how to rehab his broken ankle to bounce back and still be able to play if the Bucs made a deep playoff run in 2020. Don’t tell Joe that Vea returning for the NFC Championship game wasn’t a needed jolt of electricity.

Joe thinks Suh could work wonders with rookie Logan Hall.

Yeah, Suh is not what he once was, but he is still valuable. Hopefully, Suh and Licht can reach an agreement. Joe would hate to see Licht win the battle (of chicken) but lose the war (see Suh and his smarts and his durability go elsewhere).

36 Responses to “The Ndamukong Suh Staredown Continues”

  1. Buczilla Says:

    I hope that we get him back too.

  2. Topdoggie Says:

    I wonder if he will retire if no one meets his asking price.

  3. Bucsfanman Says:

    We are a much better defense with Suh. What else needs to be said?!

  4. 1#bucsfan Says:

    He’ll be back with gronk. It’s bin the plan the whole time

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Excellent piece Joe; glad to see that you’re in Suh’s corner. We disagree about the ‘mercenary’ part (I’m convinced he wants to finish his career here, retire a Buc, and in the process shoot for 1 more SB ring), but that’s OK. Reality to me is that the Bucs NEED him (his talent AND his attitude AND his leadership) if we’re to have a chance to win the whole enchilada.

  6. Hodad Says:

    It comes down to the money. Suh’s probably wanting 8,to 10 mill a year, and Licht doesn’t want to go over 5. Just my guess. Right now niether side is budging.

  7. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Get rid of Ryan Griffin and add his salary to Suh’s offer. I still don’t know why he’s been on the team. But I’m sure there’s a reason that can’t and won’t happen.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I think the holdup here is with the Bucs……we need to restructure more contracts…….and I also think we don’t want to pay more than $5-6 mil.

  9. PSL Bob Says:

    Apparently either no one else will pay what Suh wants or he doesn’t want anyone else. There’s no back-channel chatter about his negotiations with the Bucs or ANY OTHER TEAM. Could be that Licht has told him it all hinges on Gronk’s return. If Gronk comes back, we can’t afford to pay you what you’re asking. Then Suh might start talks with other teams, if anyone else is interested. If Gronk hangs it up, which seems unlikely, Licht and Suh reach an agreement and he’s back in pewter and red.

  10. geno711 Says:

    Joe one of your best. Great points all around. Always wanted Suh back but your points bring that to a whole new level.

  11. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I heard that Cleveland was seriously interested in him ?
    I hope we can sign him again because he makes our team better, IMHO

  12. #8 Says:


  13. Dooley Says:

    We can’t have Rodgers come back to RayJay w/o the threat of Suh verbally & physically harassing him for 4 quarters.

  14. JA Says:

    Imagine saying no to five million dollars.
    The singer with the voice, the guitar player with the fast fingers or the athlete with a certain skill set all have one thing in common:
    They were the beneficiary of a rare genetic gift that most of us were denied.
    Instead, we watch them perform with awe. And we’re willing to collectively pay billions to see them do their thing.
    As many struggle to make ends meet or bust butt to send the kids to college and save enough for a comfortable retirement, once again, imagine saying no to five million dollars.
    I can’t.
    But in this talent worship world of ours, Ndamukong Suh can.

  15. BUCman Says:

    The Bucs must be expecting Suh to back. There is no way they are risking Logan Hall to be a full-time player this year in a Superbowl run. Being that they are one player light at DT and haven’t tried signing another free agent leads me to believe they expect Suh back later this summer as they do with Gronk.

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    TBBF … I agree; the only 2 contracts we can realistically restructure now are Donovan Smith’s & LVD’s, and I kinda doubt the Bucs really want to go that route (commits us to 1 or both for more years, and I’m not sure the Bucs want that).

    Right now we sit at $12.4 mil salary CAP space, with 4 rookies signed & 4 unsigned (SHOULD only cost us about $1.0 mil when they sign & replace 4 players in our current Top-51). Highly doubtful that we can sign both Suh AND Gronk for the remaining $11.4 mil (and still have a little wiggle room left for the season). We COULD save another $2.9 mil by releasing Pinion, plus another $1.8 mil by releasing Succop, but my gut says the Bucs want to let the competition in training camp play out BEFORE making those decisions.

    Then again, there’s also no pressing need to rush things, for the Bucs, for Suh or for Gronk. I think this’ll be the last year for both, neither has any driving desire I’m sure to go through a full training camp, and I’m convinced that both will only play this year for the Bucs (and yes, the Browns & others have purportedly expressed interest in signing Suh). Almost surely neither one of them NEED the money, they like Tampa Bay, thus no hurry. Only the media is making a big deal out of this. Bucs will sign both … eventually.

  17. ocala Says:

    Time to move on from Suh.
    Bucs need Gronk, but Suh looked washed at the end of last season with the exception of some good plays in the playoff game against the Rams.

    There is a reason neither the Bucs or the other 31 teams in the NFL have signed him.

  18. stpetebucsfan Says:


    What are the penalties if we sign both Gronk and Suh and somewhere in the season go…OOPS. Turns out we “accidentally” topped the cap. We promise to make corrections.

    What are the penalties?

  19. PassingThru Says:

    Suh is a mercenary. For some players, football is a game; for others, it is a business. Suh falls into the latter category.

    It’s cool though, they all have limited shelf-lives and this game can cripple you physically and even mentally for life. He has a number and I’m sure Licht isn’t ready or willing to move on it.

    Akiem Hicks is a health risk. Suh is diminishing return risk. It’s time to move on one of them. I’d prefer Hicks, but my name isn’t Jason Licht.

  20. PassingThru Says:


    You’d simply do what all contending NFL teams do: You play “kick the can” which entails restructuring a fat contract (Donovan Smith) so that you have enough cap space to absorb your free agent signing.

  21. A Bucs Fan Says:

    I like Suh for his familiarity, knowledge, and leadership ability, but the truth is Nacho and Gholston played much better than him.

    I would only have him back on a big discount (no more than 4 millions) and even then I would want another body. Perhaps Sheldon Richardson or Hicks (prefer Richardson).

  22. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Ocala@ what team were you watching? Suh was the best Dlineman on the team last season. Vea digressed once he got paid same as Shaq? Who was better? Gholston, Nunez, McLellan? Bucs CANNOT afford to lose him? The dline will take a major.hit without him. Don’t forget who jogged the ball lose un the 4th qtr of the Rams game to help get to the tie.

  23. ChiBuc Says:

    @PassingThru. I think your oversimplification, “Akiem Hicks is a health risk. Suh is diminishing return risk.,” is somewhat skewed. Hicks represents the same diminished return potential as Suh but compounded by the fact that he has lost a lot of productivity injured on the sidelines the last couple of years. Don’t let the 3 yr age difference fool you.

    While Suh snap count has dipped, along with stats, it is possible the stats also suffered because he was playing next to the 1 armed JPP.

    They’re all mercenaries, and your reasoning for such is spot on, but I see no reason to try to connect Suh with this negative connotation to cast Hicks in some glorified light. The grass isn’t greener on the otherside, just another oversized human waiting to get paid, but the one on this side of our fence is a known commodity to the organization.

  24. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Suh does have plenty of gas left in the tank and retaining quality players that have intimate knowledge of your defensive philosophy is very valuable , but only at the right price. Suh can afford to wait for a team to lose a quality DT to season ending injury in the preseason , and providing the team sees themselves as a contender , Suh will most likely get signed at a good rate of pay. However, if that scenario does not happen the Bucs hand gets stronger and Suh will take the pay cut and sign with Tampa. After all some millions is better than no millions. Personally , I want him back , he is statistically one of the leading TFL producers in the league year after year and a great guy to have next to VV.

  25. tampabayallday Says:

    it’d be a good rotation.

  26. SlyPirate Says:


    Imagine if LAR or NOLA signed Suh? That would be a serious blow. Signing Suh makes the Bucs better and prevents a competitor from getting him.

  27. Bobby M. Says:

    You know what else isn’t what it once was?….Our cap situation. We knew the window was tight, now there’s some really tough decisions. Ideally Bucs would prefer Suh back but for what they ask him to do, Gholston can effective. Where I believe Suh will be missed and irreplaceable is filling in for Vea. He was exceptionally effective stepping in for Vea, can’t say Gholston can pull that off.

  28. Cobraboy Says:

    Suh was a mercenary early in his career, but I suspect time has changed all that.

    I would be surprised if he retires or signs somewhere else.

    Most likely he’s busy caring for twins. He will. get the Football Itch closer to TC.

    Like Gronk, but no twins.

  29. ocala Says:


    I was watching teams easily run away from Suh at the end of last season. He was a major liability in the run game and teams were exposing him. Yes he had some flashes in the Rams playoff game, but he was a much better player in 2020 than last year.
    If he was so good why has no team including the Bucs singed him?
    He has had a great career, but my guess is he is done unless he is willing to take on a part time roll at a much lower salary.

  30. Pewter Power Says:

    Not a stare if the money simply is not there. I’d rather get another inexpensive body at defensive tackle and bring back Gronkowski if I have to choose between him and suh. Rookie d lineman do come in and make an impact sometimes

  31. bucfan34 Says:

    Sign # 93

  32. ChiBuc Says:

    How come nobody ever mentions Gronk’s decline toward the end of 2021, his many injuries, or how about his drops in LAR playoff game? Yet, drool drips from your lips for his return. I feel like DL is a greater need than another blocker/ big target, not that I wouldn’t welcome gronk back with open arms, but if looking for warts on Suh, surely you saw some on your God, gronk.

  33. Stanglassman Says:

    I don’t think the Bucs have much interest in bribing him back. Barring injuries or Hall looking slow to develop.

  34. Buc1987 Says:

    Bring Suh back please.

  35. PassingThru Says:

    Gronk is definitely worth more than Suh, especially in light of the Bucs losing Godwin. Last season the Bucs had three WR1s, an embarrassment of riches. AB is gone. Godwin will miss most of the season, and might not be that effective when he returns. Gage looks good but chemistry issues should be expected Year 1, and besides, he’s no Godwin or AB. That leaves Gronk as a very important receiving option out of the slot. He’s even more important this season than last.

  36. Stone crab sam Says:

    The harsh reality is the Bucs chose to pay an injured Godwin 20 milski this year. Suh and gronk are left with scraps of money from the remainder of a depleted salary cap and Godwin won’t play till November or December if at all this year. That’s the harsh reality nobody wants to discuss. Are you guys positive mark Dominik hasn’t returned in some fashion with the Bucs?
    Yes Godwin is a company man, but so are Suh and da gronk.