We don't get a big fish like Ndamukong Suh in free agency very often. Teams rarely let a player at his level get away in the prime of their careers. Thanks to the Lions' poor cap management, they left themselves in a situation that made it impossible to bring him back. It's probably not going to be the last time a team hamstrings itself with a contract for Suh, either.
Take a look at the team that are said to be interested in Suh so far: Indianapolis, New York Giants, Miami, Oakland, and Washington. The Giants haven't been considered a particularly strong candidate. Reports of the Colts' interest waiver, with the Indianapolis Star saying not to get overly excited about the possibility. So look who that leaves us with, three teams with a long list of holes to fill in the roster and a history of bad free agent deals.
If there's a lead horse in the race right now, it's the Dolphins. They'll need a replacement for Jared Odrick on their defensive line. That's not the only need they'll have to fill if they expect to have a shot at beating the Patriots and possibly a more aggressive Bills team. Miami needs cornerbacks, a safety, receivers and offensive linemen. They need linebackers as well, especially if they release Daniel Ellerbe (another poorly considered free agent acquisition), as expected. And they have about $11.8 million in cap space right now.
It's the same story for Oakland and Washington. Those two teams have better cap situations and more money to spend, but lots of holes to fill.
Suh is expected to fetch a princely $60 million guaranteed and an average of $17 million per seasons with his next contract. The overall number attached to it, with all the non-guaranteed money, will challenge the imagination of headline writers everywhere. It may go higher considering Dan Snyder's going to be involved in the bidding process.
Totals like that are going to make it difficult for those three teams to fill gaps elsewhere, not to mention retaining key players already on the roster beyond 2015. And these are three teams who don't exactly have Ozzie Newsome's track record at building a roster.
Landing a big fish is great for "winning the offseason," but it can also put a team in a bind. Those are teams that need to start winning games again, and soon. Spending big on Suh isn't going to help that.
Aldon Smith volunteers to restructure contract
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith knows he's running out of chances with the team that drafted him. According to his agent via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, he's restructured his contract into a bonus-heavy deal that will bank on him staying out of trouble in 2015 in order to earn the entirety of the $9.754 million he's due.
The Niners selected Smith in the first round of the 2011 draft. He's totaled 44 sacks in four seasons with the team.
Dwayne Bowe on the chopping block
If the Kansas City Chiefs can't trade veteran wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, the expectation is that he'll be released. His cap hit for 2015 would be $14 million, a number that doesn't coincide with the paltry numbers he put up last season.
It's time to decide Cutler's fate
Chicago Bears signal caller Jay Cutler would earn a fully guaranteed $10 million for 2016 if he's on the roster next week when the new league year starts. That essentially means that John Fox and the new coaching staff would be committing to him for the long haul. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the time is now to decide if he's going to be the quarterback of the future for the team as it transitions to a new regime.
Rapoport added that "teams certainly know that Jay Cutler is available," on Thursday's edition of NFL Total Access. But the major question is whether anyone's willing to take a gamble on him and his massive cap number.
Brian Hoyer hopes to start in 2015
After Josh McCown signed with the Browns last week, it was clear Brian Hoyer's time in Cleveland had come to an end. Now, the quarterback is looking forward to turning the page and potentially earning another opportunity in a new uniform, according to Jim Corbett of USA Today. With McCown joining the Browns and Matt Cassel headed to the Buffalo Bills, Hoyer could be the next quarterback to be signed.
Chargers, Brandon Flowers talking extension
The San Diego Chargers and cornerback Brandon Flowers are in negotiations to work out a new contract, according to the team's official website. "Business is business," he said during a visit with NFL Network on Thursday. "But I would love to stay in San Diego."
Flowers spent the first six years of his career in Kansas City before joining the Chargers last season. Flowers played in 14 games and led the team with three interceptions. The Chargers need to shore up their secondary after 2014 first-round selection Jason Verrett suffered numerous injuries in his rookie campaign and eventually landed on season-ending injured reserve.
Lance Briggs out in Chicago
Veteran linebacker Lance Briggs won't return to the Chicago Bears after spending his entire 12-year career with the team. The move was expected, as Briggs has missed 15 games over the past two seasons after playing in all but four games over his first 10 seasons. He departs Chicago as its second all-time leading tackler behind Brian Urlacher.
The 35-year-old could decide to retire or he could try to sign with a new team that plays a 4-3 defense. New Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will install the 3-4 scheme in Chicago next season.
- The Denver Broncos have re-signed long snapper Aaron Brewer.
- The Indianapolis Colts have made a qualifying offer to Jerrell Freeman, while tendering Dan Herron, Daniel Adongo and Cam Johnson.
- Chris Hogan, Corbin Bryant and Justin Brown were each tendered by the Buffalo Bills .
- Antrel Rolle plans to test the open market in free agency.
- The Atlanta Falcons signed safety Charles Godfrey to a one-year contract extension.
- Boom or bust: Dante Fowler, Jr. could go either way following the 2015 NFL Draft.
- Greg Hardy is free to sign with any team, despite still being on the commissioner's exempt list.
- Ndamukong Suh heading to South Florida is getting "very real."
- The Bears are trying to move Brandon Marshall.
- Carson Palmer saved the Cardinals $7 million by restructuring his contract.