The Miami Dolphins are set to release DT Ndamukong Suh on Wednesday, three seasons into the record-breaking six-year, $114 million contract he signed to leave the Detroit Lions, NFL Media's Jeff Darlington reports Monday.
Cutting Suh will save the Dolphins nearly $17 million in cap room but create a monster $22-plus million dead cap hit, according to Spotrac.
Suh, the 31-year-old five-time Pro Bowler, continues to play at a high level and remains one of the Dolphins best players. But after agreeing to acquire Robert Quinn and his $11.4 million cap hit via a trade with the Los Angeles Rams, the Dolphins' have an untenable chunk of their salary cap — nearly $52 million (!) — along their defensive line.
Moreover, Darlington reports that the impending release of Suh is the next step in coach Adam Gase's attempt to rebuild the culture in his locker room. Suh follows Jay Ajayi and Jarvis Landry, both productive players whose on- and off-field antics wore thin with the organization.
Cutting Suh two days after trading Landry to the Browns is reportedly a precursor to an aggressive free-agent period ahead for the Dolphins — though they still have work to do with their cap, where cutting Suh barely gets them back in black.
But it's unclear exactly what Mike Tannenbaum's plan is, from our view. Quinn hasn't been a great player in two years, not unlike the failed acquisition of Mario Williams a few years back, and it's impossible to argue the Dolphins are closer to competing without Landry and Suh.
Then there's the Dolphins' total uncertainty under center, where Gase said Ryan Tannehill is his guy this year, while rumblings persist that he could target one of the top QB prospects with the 11th overall pick. It's been more than a year and a half and two knee surgeries since Tannehill played in a real game, and he'll return to a depleted arsenal and offensive line.
The Dolphins currently appear worse than the 6-10 mess of 2017, not closer to the 10-6 wild-card berth two years ago that felt like a mirage.
Suh should have plenty of interest on the open market, especially because it won't take a QB-esque contract to bring aboard the enigmatic interior disruptor who's still unblockable when he wants to be. Suh has played a remarkable number of snaps over his career, but he's incredibly durable, having missed just two games over his eight seasons.
Suh can still destroy the pocket, a premium service in today's NFL, and it'll be fascinating to see what market materializes for a great player who's never been shy about saying he wants to maximize his earning power.