The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have cut veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy after nine seasons with the team, but it looks like they have a replacement on the way in the form of Ndamukong Suh.
On Tuesday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that Suh and the Buccaneers, per league sources, are finalizing a one-year contract that would send the 32-year-old defensive tackle to Tampa Bay “barring any late hang-ups.” No further information was provided regarding the terms of the deal.
Suh, who played for the Detroit Lions in his first five seasons before playing three years with the Miami Dolphins and one year with the Los Angeles Rams, was the No. 2 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, where the Lions selected him right before the Bucs used their third overall pick on McCoy. As previously reported by NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk, the 31-year-old McCoy was informed by Tampa Bay on Monday that he would be cut from the team after appearing in six Pro Bowls and being named first-team All-Pro three times.
A five-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro selection, Suh had a productive season for the Rams in 2018, registering 59 total tackles and 4.5 sacks and starting all 16 regular-season games. As noted by Yahoo Sports, Suh was one of the players who were most instrumental in helping the Rams defeat the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game, thus allowing him to play in his first career Super Bowl, where Los Angeles fell short against the New England Patriots.
Veteran DT Ndamukong Suh's free agency is coming to an end.— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) May 21, 2019
The former LA Ram is closing in on a 1-year deal with the Bucs, according to multiple sources. pic.twitter.com/Tz7FkvejAI
Prior to joining the Rams ahead of the 2018 season, Ndamukong Suh signed a six-year, $114 million contract with the Dolphins as a free agent in 2015, with $60 million guaranteed. While this made him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, the Dolphins ultimately cut him in March 2018, with the team compiling a combined 22-26 regular-season record in his three years with Miami, per Bleacher Report.
Regarding the reason why Suh is apparently headed back to Florida to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Schefter noted in a follow-up tweet on Tuesday that the defensive tackle is “interested” in playing for newly hired defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who will be joining Bruce Arians’ staff after spending four seasons as the New York Jets’ head coach.
Given the Bucs’ struggles on defense in 2018, NJ.com wrote that Bowles will have a “big task” to prepare for in the lead-up to the 2019 season. However, the outlet predicted that Suh, despite how he appears to be slowing down compared to his All-Pro days, could be a productive addition to Tampa Bay’s roster, where he could step into Gerald McCoy’s shoes and “help things up front.”