LOS ANGELES – Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh agreed to a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, joining All-Pro Aaron Donald on a potentially fearsome defensive front.
Suh was released by the Dolphins earlier this month when he declined to restructure his hefty contract after three seasons in Miami. He attracted widespread interest as a free agent before agreeing to join the defending NFC West champion Rams, who have revamped their already solid defense with several impressive offseason additions.
Suh’s deal in Los Angeles is worth $14 million, according to the NFL Network and ESPN.
Suh is a five-time Pro Bowl selection during his eight-year career with Detroit and Miami. He is considered one of the NFL’s most impressive defensive linemen, with 51 1/2 career sacks and excellent run-stopping ability. He also has never missed a game due to injury.
With Suh and Donald playing side by side, the Rams will have a formidable front for defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme. Suh and Michael Brockers should start alongside Donald, the AP’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Suh has never played in a 3-4 alignment during his NFL career, but Phillips specializes in finding ways for outstanding players to shine. He is also much less likely to face double-teams as a pass-rusher while lining up with Donald in a partnership that will stretch most opponents’ blocking abilities to the limit.
Suh visited New Orleans and Tennessee during his free agency tour, and he attracted serious interest from the New York Jets. But the Rams won him over last week after a visit to their suburban training complex and a dinner in Malibu with a front-office group including coach Sean McVay and owner Stan Kroenke.
Suh likely could have made more money with the Titans or Jets, but the Rams are widely considered a team on the rise – and with his arrival on a lucrative one-year deal, the Rams have signaled their determination to compete for the Super Bowl immediately.
The Rams have revamped their defense with proven talent in an effort to raise its performance to the level of McVay’s offense, which led the NFL with 478 points last season in a stunning worst-to-first transformation.
Earlier this month, Los Angeles added cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, who have been selected to a combined seven Pro Bowls, while retaining promising safety Lamarcus Joyner and slot cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman.
The Rams also traded away linebackers Alec Ogletree and Robert Quinn, while top cornerback Trumaine Johnson left for a $72.5 million deal with the Jets.
Los Angeles still is working on a contract extension for Donald, who held out through training camp and missed one regular-season game last year.
Suh is an Oregon native who starred at Nebraska before joining the Lions as the second overall pick in the 2010 draft. He became the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history at the time of his six-year, $114 million free-agent deal with the Dolphins.
Suh has repeatedly drawn the ire of opponents and officials with physical play on the edge of legality, yet his only NFL suspension was a two-game ban in 2011 during his second season for stomping on Packers lineman Evan Smith.
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