The New England Patriots have suffered some high-profile losses over the last few days: Nate Solder, Danny Amendola, Dion Lewis and Malcolm Butler will all play elsewhere next season. New England needs to find a way to replace the production of its losses while also adding talent, especially on defense. The team started by trading for former first round pick Danny Shelton over the weekend and could be in play for an even bigger-profile player now.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Patriots will be in the mix for former Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh:
There's no way we can possibly talk about a veteran, big-name player at the end of his career without talking about the Patriots. So of course, the Patriots will be in the mix as well.
Fellow NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo also thinks that New England signing Suh makes sense:
It does, of course it does. It absolutely does. But there is going to have to be a point where he decides what kind of money he wants to take. And what you have seen with New England [...] they for the most part will tell agents and players that “players take less to play for us.” That's the way they negotiate things. For Suh, I don't know what less means but it's not going to be anywhere near 20 million dollars for him to play with the Patriots – I wouldn't think. That's probably a decision Suh has to make more so than the Patriots are going to have to make at some point.
Suh was on the Dolphins’ books with a salary cap hit of $26.1 million this season – a number that was scheduled to climb to $28.1 million next year before going back down to $22.4 million in 2020. While the 31-year old is still an excellent player and the salary cap is ever increasing, the numbers were simply unsustainable for the Dolphins and do not reflect the true value he or any other non-quarterback could potentially have to a franchise.
Of course, as Garafolo notes, money might very well be the deciding factor yet again. New England will not break the bank for Suh, so the two parties would have to find a middle ground to make things work. Whether this will actually happen remains to be seen. Despite the team “being in the mix”, though, and the veteran having the talent to be a huge addition to the defense, Suh in a Patriots uniform anytime soon still feels like a long-shot.