When it was announced on Monday afternoon that the Detroit Lions wouldn't be placing the franchise tag on Ndamukong Suh, reports started running rampant from almost every fan base about the chances of their team landing the once in a generation free agent. The Miami Dolphins fan base was no exception and things got even crazier when a unconfirmed report on Twitter spread that Suh was seen in the Fort Lauderdale Airport with his agent. For those who don't know, FLL is the same airport the Dolphins fly in and out of.
I mentioned last night that the report was unconfirmed and a team employee who I spoke to said that "'It could mean something or it could mean nothing - who knows." The source wasn't trying to be cryptic - he/she honestly didn't know what to make of the report and whether or not the Dolphins would have any interest. However, the source went onto say that Mike Tannebaum can get very creative when doing contracts and it wouldn't surprise him if the Dolphins made a serious run at Suh to make him the next member of the Dolphins.
To move things further along, Mark Dominik of ESPN, who used to work with Dennis Hickey in Tampa Bay, said the Dolphins would be one of three teams interested in Suh. John Clayton of ESPN also said last night that the Dolphins have a realistic shot to land Suh if they wanted to.
Behind JJ Watt, it can be argued that Suh is the next best defensive player in the NFL. The league hasn't seen a free agent like this hit the market in quite some time. Some may say Peyton Manning but remember that there were plenty of questions about his health and his ability to play at a high level for several years. The only thing holding teams back on Suh is the financial aspect, which brings me to the next point.
Suh will likely command a six year deal worth $100 million with a boatload of money guaranteed. Some numbers that have been flying around the past few hours has been $40 - $50 million guaranteed. To put that into perspective, that's about $25 million per year in cap charges, which is the in the same ballpark as what the likes of Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and other elite quarterbacks are making or will be making within the next few years.
The big question is whether or not the Dolphins can succeed paying one player that much money. Keep in mind that Ryan Tannehill is due for a long-term contract extension after this season and if all projected calculations are correct, the two of them will be tying up almost a third of the Dolphins salary cap. Of course, the team would have to surround the two with cheaper players but there is no minimizing the impact that Suh would make.
He would cover up the deficiencies of the linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties. You would be able to continue to go cheap at the defensive tackle position and include productive guys in a rotation. On offense, you would have to get productive wide receivers who come cheap and probably wouldn't have the elite ones int he league, unless one is playing on their rookie contract.
The Dolphins have almost $11 million dollars in cap space and they are expected to make more cuts as free agency nears and when it opens. There's no doubt that they can work things around to make Suh a substantial offer. The question then becomes whether or not they can succeed moving into the future.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs