Who wants to have the best defensive line in football? The Miami Dolphins. Who isn’t go to win a Super Bowl any time soon? The Dolphins. Who cares? Apparently not the Dolphins. It is unthinkable that an organization, already ripe with talent on the defensive line, would make a move to sign a tackle to the third-largest contract in the history of the league.
The expected six-year, $114 million deal cements Ndamukong Suh’s place in Miami for the foreseeable future, giving him a contract 14 percent more expensive than the currently highest-paid defensive player, J.J. Watt. What does this mean for the rest of that scary defensive line? Dion Jordan and Cameron Wake are both under contract for two more years, and the Dolphins will not be able to afford all three defensive stars beyond that point. They would have to pour $40 million per year into their starting defensive linemen alone. Their pre-Suh defensive cap number was just over $63 million.
The defensive side of the ball isn’t the only one Miami has to worry about upcoming hefty contracts on. How about the guy who normally generates these ridiculous contracts: The quarterback. Someone tell Miami this is the one they need to spend their money on to make a deep playoff run. Looking at quarterbacks like Jay Cutler and Joe Flacco, who both received deals of over $100 million in recent years, Tannehill is due at least something just below that range.
For comparison, let’s look at Andy Dalton’s 2014 deal: six years, $96 million. In Dalton’s first three seasons, he threw for 11,360 yards for 80 touchdowns and 69 interceptions with a completion percentage of about 61. In his first three years as a starter, Tannehill threw for 11,252 yards for 63 touchdowns and 42 interceptions with about a 62 completion percentage. 2014 was Tannehill’s best year in the league. He eclipsed 4,000 yards and had a passer rating of 92.8. Dalton has yet to maintain a passer rating greater than 90.0 over the course of a season.
I like numbers. Let’s keep on the stat train.
Prior to the start of the league year, 60 of the 80 Dolphins players’ total contract values would be needed to amount to the former Detroit Lion’s total contract amount of $114 million. Three-quarters of the players under contract. For one guy?
A guy, by the way, who has been known to cause a ruckus on the field. A guy who was voted the dirtiest player in the NFL – not by fans or journalists –by the players in 2012. 31 percent of those polled voted for him. Need a reminder why? Think Jake Delhomme, Andy Dalton, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Matt Schaub, Aaron Rodgers and all dem fines – just over $400,000 in total. Guess who was second in the dirtiest-player voting. Richie Incognito. Yep. One of the players at the center of the largest bullying scandal in sports history.
If I’m the Dolphins, I’m trying to stay away from these players and reducing any possible chance that anything along the bullying front could ever happen again. So logically, team-owner Stephen Ross, decides that everyone has forgotten/forgiven the scandal, and it’s okay for the team to sign one of the most-fined players in the history of the league. Not even giving it a couple years, guy?
Following the league’s findings in Feb. 2014, Ross released a statement which included, “I have made it clear to everyone within our organization that this situation must never happen again. We are committed to address this issue forcefully and to take a leadership role in establishing a standard that will be a benchmark in all of sports.”
Whether you call it hypocritical or business as usual, the Dolphins went all-in on a player that makes headlines on the field, several times for the wrong reasons. His presence alone, though, will not be enough for the Dolphins to make a deep playoff run. With a number like $114 million, Suh will be the guy. He will make plays. He just can’t do enough.
This article is a part of our ongoing “Opposites Attack” series where we aim to play devil’s advocate on hot topics in the sports and entertainment world while providing a fresh perspective of these subjects.
Featured image: ABC News