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Is There Much Ado about the Colts and Ndamukong Suh?

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NFL: Super Bowl LIII-New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin predicted that Los Angeles Rams free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh would sign with the Indianapolis Colts.

While this article appears to be nothing more than idle speculation, it raises the question of whether or not signing Suh would actually be a savvy move for the Colts.

The 6’4”, 313 pound nose tackle is coming off a season for the Rams in which he recorded 59 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 4 passes defensed in all 16 starts for Wade Phillips’ defense.

Per Pro Football Focus (subscription), Suh was the 20th best rated interior defender with a +82.6 grade overall—including a +86.7 run defense grade.

At age 32, Suh isn’t quite the same caliber of player he once was, as the 2nd overall pick of the Detroit Lions in 2010—en route to then becoming a 3x First-Team All-Pro, 2x 2nd-Team All-Pro, and 5x Pro Bowler.

In his earlier career, Suh was truly dominant, as a defensive tackle who consistently commanded a double team and terrorized both offensive lineman and quarterbacks alike along the interior with sheer brute strength and surprising quickness.

Minnesota Vikings v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

However, even now, the 10-year veteran could still help a team as an impact starter and remains one of the better defensive tackles in football.

If there was maybe one position where the Colts could withstand to add a proven player and depth, it might be at defensive tackle too—specifically nose tackle.

That being said, there are also concerns that go beyond Suh’s pure production on the football field—where he would almost certainly help.

Namely, his overall character and sportsmanship.

Suh has always had a bit of a temper/anger issue on the field, which has led to unsportsmanlike antics both during plays and after the whistle. He’s also been considered to have a ‘lone wolf’ locker room mentality at times, and is now more or less a football mercenary at this stage of his career—with no real football home.

That being said, some of that may be overblown. After all, Suh was named a team captain by his former Miami Dolphins teammates as recently as 2017. He was such a “malcontent”, too, that the Los Angeles Rams advanced all the way to last year’s Super Bowl.

My stance on Suh is simply this: I’m not going to grandstand for the Colts to sign him, but at the same time, I wouldn’t be opposed to Indianapolis adding him either—especially if it comes at the expense of another AFC contender like the New England Patriots potentially signing him on a “sweetheart deal”.

If the Colts could get Suh on a team-friendly, 1-year deal to help provide a proven impact starter along the interior, it would only help their defense—particularly against the run. If he can keep it between the lines, too, he could also provide the Colts defense some much needed toughness and a bit of a nasty streak (with the hope that it’s more like how Quenton Nelson plays, flirting with the ‘line’ at times, as opposed to being downright dirty).

The Colts locker room, and really strong locker rooms in general, should be able to handle one or two ‘rough around the edges’ players. That’s what a truly great culture can do.

However, the other downside is that it could limit reps for some of their younger defensive lineman such as Tyquan Lewis, Grover Stewart, and Jihad Ward, so it comes at a developmental cost.

Nevertheless, the Colts already showed that they’re serious about competing for a championship this year by signing another fellow veteran, Justin Houston.

Signing Suh though could potentially show that the Colts are truly ‘all in’ for next season.