Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero: Go ahead and dream, but Dolphins’ signing of Ndamukong Suh has risk

This is a Jan. 4, 2015, file photo showing Detroit Lions' Ndamukong Suh smiling as he walks across the field during warm ups before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. Ndamukong Suh can test the open market when free agency begins March 10 after the Lions decided not to use the franchise tag on the star defensive tackle, according to a report on the team's website.
This is a Jan. 4, 2015, file photo showing Detroit Lions' Ndamukong Suh smiling as he walks across the field during warm ups before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. Ndamukong Suh can test the open market when free agency begins March 10 after the Lions decided not to use the franchise tag on the star defensive tackle, according to a report on the team's website. AP

There’s nothing else to do but appreciate a big swing for the fences, or a Hail Mary pass for a win, or a last-second full-court shot. Taking a chance at glory is impossible to criticize. Trying to rescue a bad situation is never wrong.

So the Dolphins get a standing ovation for chasing and apparently landing Ndamukong Suh.

How can one hate this attempt right now?

How can not merely upgrading the defense but potentially giving it the NFL’s most ferocious defensive line be a bad thing?

Cameron Wake.

Ndamukong Suh.

Earl Mitchell.

Olivier Vernon.

Suhperb!

Detroit … no Suh for you. The Dolphins have added your Suhperstar.

So this is the time to value what the Dolphins have done. They’ve come out of nowhere to land the signature free agent of the 2015 offseason. They’ve escaped, if only until the regular season begins, that stubborn tag of mediocrity that has stuck to them for years.

Enjoy it, folks.

And go ahead, let those visions and dreams of Suhper Bowls dance in your head. Allow yourself that luxury, courtesy of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. Multi-billionaire Ross, one of the richest of the NFL’s rich men, just reached into his pocket and pulled out some loose change. He’s spending at least $60 million in guaranteed money for Suh and as much as $114 million over the next six years, according to an ESPN report.

Ross, you should know, is up to his eyeballs in this decision. He approved it. And depending on who you talk to, he even suggested it.

It has been a mixed bag for the Dolphins chasing signature free agents, star coaches and even first-choice general managers under Ross. The owner failed to hire Jim Harbaugh in 2011. He failed to hire Jeff Fisher in 2012. The 2014 general manager search didn’t go quite as anyone planned with multiple candidates either turning down the Dolphins or shunning them altogether.

And the chase for Peyton Manning was very disappointing because the team had trouble even getting a meeting with the quarterback — a meeting that would never have happened had Dan Marino, then working for CBS, not gotten it on Miami’s behalf as a favor from Manning.

Ross had to be stung by those failures. He wouldn’t be human if he wasn’t. No real-estate man wants a reputation for failing to close the deal.

So this major get puts a suhture on those wounds.

(OK, I’ll stop.)

But this is that point in this column where you need to understand this move is not without risk. It is no guarantee for success.

It does not, regardless of gleeful rhetoric and lofty expectation, stamp a Dolphins’ ticket to a championship.

Some facts:

Suh played five seasons in Detroit. With him and Pro Bowl quarterback Matthew Stafford and otherworldly wide receiver Calvin Johnson, the Lions never won the NFC North.

With those three and other high-caliber players on the roster, Detroit finished second twice, third twice and last once.

The Lions are a combined 38-42 since 2010 when Suh joined the team.

The Lions were 6-10 Suh’s rookie year when he had 10 sacks — proof that even his most productive season to date could not overcome an injury to the starting quarterback. The Lions also were 4-12 in 2012 when Suh turned in eight sacks and Stafford was healthy.

A head coach got fired while Suh and Johnson and Stafford were in Detroit together.

One man, or even three men, all supremely talented, could not save Jim Schwartz.

We’ve seen signings like this before both in Miami and elsewhere.

Karlos Dansby was the best defensive free agent of the 2010 class. The Dolphins never went to the playoffs while he was here.

Three years ago the Buffalo Bills, fresh off a remake of their stadium and with an aging owner who wanted to get to the playoffs, signed defensive end Mario Williams to what was then the richest deal for a defensive player.

Does the scenario sound familiar?

Let’s hope it doesn’t stay familiar because the Bills have still not gotten to the postseason.

J.J. Watt last year signed what was until this Suh deal the richest contract for any NFL defensive player. And Watt played like a beast in 2014, earning respect and NFL MVP votes.

And the Houston Texans did not get to the playoffs.

The point is the Dolphins have improved their defense on paper with this signing.

The run defense has been progressively worse the past three years, and the scoring defense has followed the same course.

The addition of Ndamakong Suh should help that. It must help that.

But let us recognize this for what it is. It is not the Dolphins completing their team. It is not the move that puts Miami over the top and makes it better than New England.

This is a wonderful and fanciful leap. It gives everyone hope. It is indeed a gargantuan swing for that far-off fence.

Now we watch to see if the Dolphins connected.

Related stories from Miami Herald

  Comments