Ndamukong Suh Rumors: 49ers, Ravens Pursued Star DT Before Buccaneers Contract

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIMarch 26, 2020

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 3: Defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh #93 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is pictured during a game against the Seattle Seahawks  at CenturyLink Field on November 3, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won 40-34 in overtime. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

There was apparently no shortage of Super Bowl contenders lining up to offer contracts to Ndamukong Suh.

Before the defensive end re-signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a reported one-year, $8 million deal, two Super Bowl hopefuls had tried to pry the 33-year-old away from the NFC South club, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport

"This was no easy task for the Bucs. They had several teams who wanted Suh's services including the 49ers and including the Baltimore Ravens," Rapoport said on Wednesday. "In the end, though, this was a priority for general manager Jason Licht to have a lynchpin in the middle of that defense."

According to Rapoport, one of the main factors for Suh was another chance to play for defensive coordinator Todd Bowles in Tampa and it doesn't take much examining to see why.

After playing at nose tackle with the Los Angeles Rams the year before he moved to Tampa, Bowles found a way to get more out of Suh by using him less. Where the Rams had him on the field for 88 percent of the team's defensive snaps, per Pro Football Reference, the Bucs used him for 77 percent and essentially removed him from special teams, minus 17 plays.

That resulted in fewer tackles by Suh (41 total in 2019 compared to 59 in 2018) and his sacks dropped to a career-low 2.5, but he was able to deflect four passes and recovered four fumbles for the first time in his career.

Most important of all, Tampa Bay led the league in run defense by a wide margin, allowing just 73.8 yards per game.

"It worked so well last year and there's so much optimism in Tampa this year," Rapoport said. "Why not stick around for another year?"

While the Ravens and Niners both boast top-five defenses, the familiarity and the addition of quarterback Tom Brady makes it understandable to stay in Tampa. As the three-time All-Pro looks to polish off his resume with a Super Bowl title, there might not be a better opportunity than the one he's returning to.