Let's have the Ndamukong Suh debate. I know many New York Giants fans want the superstar defensive tackle, a soon-to-be free-agent, to be a member of the New York Giants in 2015 and beyond. So, since we're talking about potential Giants' free-agent targets we can't avoid talking about the Detroit Lions star forever.
Is it possible that Suh could be a Giant in 2015? Sure, anything is possible. The common belief is that if Suh leaves Detroit he would like to land in a major media market, which New York obviously is.
Could Suh help the Giants? Umm, duh. The Giants have one quality defensive tackle, Johnathan Hankins,, and some other guys who might help. That's not good enough. In five seasons, Suh has been named to the Pro Bowl four times and voted a first-time All-Pro three times. He had 8.5 sacks in 2014. At his best, there is not a more dominant defensive tackle in the game than Suh.
Is it realistic to think that Suh could be a member of the Giants next season? Almost certainly not. There are a myriad of reasons for that. Let's delve into them.
He probably isn't getting out of Detroit
All indications are that the Lions will move heaven and earth to keep the 28-year-old Suh in Detroit. This is what Lions president Tom Lewand said over the weekend about Suh:
"He wants to have success in the NFL, obviously, but he wants to do that with us," Lewand said. "And I think that -- I think there's a very, very good chance that we can get something done with him in the next few weeks."
There have been rumblings that the Lions would even use the franchise tag to keep Suh. Because Suh is currently the highest-paid defensive tackle in the game, with a 2014 salary of $22.4125 million, his cap figure under the franchise tag would be $26.9 million. As the Detroit Free Press explains, that is because he would be granted a 20 percent raise due to cap rules.
Superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson of the Lions, due $20.5 million in 2015, has said he will "do whatever I got to do" to keep Suh in Detroit.
Sean Yuille, editor of SB Nation's Pride of Detroit, believes the Lions will do whatever they can to keep Suh:
"The Lions are absolutely going to try to keep him. They've claimed that the franchise tag is in play, but that seems unlikely given that it would cost them nearly $27 million. Even so, they have shown a willingness to open up the checkbook before for big-time deals, and with the salary cap going up, there's no reason to think they won't make an extremely competitive offer for Suh," Yuille said. "Whether or not he even wants to stay is an entirely different story, but if it's just a money issue, the Lions should have a shot at re-signing him."
The Giants most likely can't afford him, anyway
Based on a salary cap of $140 million, Over the Cap says the Giants would currently have about $15.7 million in cap space entering free agency. That's not nearly enough to sign Suh, especially if they want to re-sign any of their own free agents (like Jason Pierre-Paul) or go after any other players who might cost more than a veteran minimum type deal. Sure, there are guys they could cut, like Mathias Kiwanuka or J.D. Walton, to save some money against the cap. Sure, they could re-structure the contract of Eli Manning. Still, that isn't likely to leave them in a favorable position to splurge like this.
The Free Press says Suh is "angling to become the highest paid defensive player in the NFL." Which means he wants a contract north of the six-year, $100 million deal J.J. Watt received from the Houston Texans.
There are 17 teams that currently have more cap space than the Giants. The Jacksonville Jaguars are estimated to have $63.2 million, the Oakland Raiders $52.3 million, the Cleveland Browns $49.3 million and the New York Jets $48.9 million. The Giants can't compete with that, no matter what they do to free up cap space.
Is signing Suh even the smart move to make?
This is where Giants fans who are hopeful that the Giants will break the figurative bank to put Suh in a Giants uniform and yours truly will part ways.
Even if they can figure out a way to clear cap space to make a competitive offer for Suh, I don't believe they will. Nor do I believe they should.
The Giants historically don't overspend in free agency, with last offseason's splurge being an exception that is unlikely to be repeated. The organization did not like having to do that, and doesn't want to repeat it. The preference would be to keep the core of the current team together, hope that some of the veterans injured last year return to health and that the young players continue to grow. Then, supplement with lower cost free agent signings and a quality draft.
Should the Giants go all out to sign Suh they would likely be able to do very little else in free agency. The preference here would be for the Giants to re-sign Pierre-Paul, something they would not be able to do if they bring in Suh. Then, to use remaining cap space to try to find matches for their needs at safety, offensive line, defensive tackle, running back and maybe linebacker. They won't be able to do all of that, of course, but they could accomplish some of it.
The view here is that I'm not even sure Suh would be a fit for the Giants. He is obviously a life-sized personality, a guy who has drawn a lot of negative attention to himself. Would he fit with Tom Coughlin's 'team over self' style? Is New York on his list of desired destinations because of the Giants and Jets, or because of Madison Avenue? Which raises the question of how committed Suh would be to the cause of winning football games. I don't know.
No matter what is written here, if you entered this debate believing the Giants need to sign Suh then I'm certain that is how you will be exiting it as well. Just be realistic. Suh becoming a member of the Giants is an extreme long shot. Reese investigates everything, so don't be shocked if he kicks the tires. The price tag, and the extras that come with it, will almost certainly mean, however, that Reese won't be purchasing a Suh model defensive tackle in 2015.