It appears that the NFL free agency pool is about to get a little deeper: via multiple reports, the Miami Dolphins will release defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in the coming days, likely Wednesday afternoon.
ESPN’s Jeff Darlington was first with the news.
Darlington said releasing Suh is part of the Dolphins’ continuing “attempt at a culture change,” which has also included trading running back Jay Ajayi to Philadelphia last season, trading the NFL’s top receiver in 2017, Jarvis Landry, to the Cleveland Browns last week, and now the release of Suh.
Those are arguably the three most talented players Miami had on the roster last year.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Omar Kelly summed it up:
Here is the God's honest truth. Ndamukong Suh, Jarvis Landry and Reshad Jones are the only players on Miami's roster that played at a high level CONSISTENTLY last year. Mike Pouncey came close, but had a few mediocre games. Now two of those three players are gone = REBUILDING.
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) March 12, 2018
While it’s unknown if this is the case at this point, Suh will almost certainly be a post-June 1 designation, which is why the team must wait until Wednesday to make the release official. If the Dolphins use that designation, the move creates $17 million in salary cap space in 2018; if the team just cuts him without that designation, the move would create only $3.9 million in cap space. (There’s a quick explainer of the June 1 designation here.)
A three-time first-team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler, Suh signed a six-year, $114.375 million contract with Miami in 2015 that included a $25.5 million signing bonus and nearly $60 million guaranteed. It was the largest contract ever given to a defensive player.
Suh certainly has had his moments in terms of attitude, but he’s still a better-than-average player: his most recent Pro Bowl nod came in 2016, and analytics site Pro Football Focus had him ranked as the second-most disruptive defensive lineman in 2017.
He started all 48 games he played with the Dolphins over the past three years, with 15.5 sacks, 49 quarterback hits, 37 tackles for loss and 108 total tackles.
For his part, Suh is still working out – he tweeted video of himself at 5:25 a.m. PT headed into a facility in Seattle with the obligatory “#RiseAndGrind” hashtag.
— Ndamukong Suh (@NdamukongSuh) March 12, 2018