Terrell Suggs Signs with Cardinals After 16 Seasons with Ravens

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Outside Linebacker Terrell Suggs #55 of the Baltimore Ravens stands on the field in the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on November 18, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

For the first time in his NFL career, Terrell Suggs will suit up for another team after the Arizona Cardinals confirmed Thursday that they agreed to terms with the veteran pass-rusher.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport first reported the agreement on March 11. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Tuesday that Suggs is for one-year and $7 million.

The 36-year-old spent the past 16 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. During that time, he reached seven Pro Bowls, won a Super Bowl and was a first-team All-Pro in 2011. He is also second in franchise history in tackles (601) and first in sacks (132.5).

In January, Suggs indicated that he wished to stay in Baltimore but acknowledged the decision was partially out of his hands, per Ryan Mink of the Ravens' official site.

"I would love to be a Raven for life," he said. "I'm healthy. I feel like I've still got some juice in the tank. It's up to them. We'll have to see what happens. It's a long time between here and March. Hopefully we can work it out, but if not, I'm going to be lining up for somebody next year."

CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora noted in November that this offseason also provided Suggs with an opportunity he had yet to receive:

"He has never negotiated a contract with any team but the Ravens, agreeing to multiple contract extensions over the course of his career, and has played on the franchise tag as well, but has never been free to talk to other teams on the market. A return to Baltimore would hardly be out of the question, but it would be surprising if he did not become an unrestricted free agent first, sources said."

Even though he turned 36 in October, Suggs was a productive defender off the edge. He finished the 2018 season with 34 combined tackles, seven sacks and six passes defended.

The Ravens were in this position ahead of the 2013 season. Ed Reed was a free agent coming off a Pro Bowl appearance and Super Bowl title. Baltimore needed to trim payroll and thus saw him sign a three-year, $15 million deal with the Houston Texans.

Reed lasted only seven games with the Texans, who released him in November 2013.

History suggests Suggs may continue to be effective in 2019, though. According to Pro Football Reference, a player aged 37 or older has registered at least five sacks on 21 occasions since the sack became an official NFL stat in 1982. His career low is five sacks over a 16-game season.

Not to mention, Suggs might be carrying a chip on his shoulder to show the Ravens they made a mistake in deciding against re-signing him this spring.

Joining the Cardinals represents a homecoming of sorts for Suggs, who played three years with the Arizona State Sun Devils.

His experience and production will add to what was one of the Cardinals' few strengths in 2018. Arizona tied for fifth in sacks as a team (49) and was third in adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders. Suggs and Chandler Jones will be a fearsome duo off the edge.

By adding Suggs, Arizona would seemingly have a little more flexibility if it wants to pass on highly touted pass-rusher Nick Bosa in favor of Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft.