The Baltimore Ravens' Terrell Suggs was finally rewarded for his efforts as one of the most disruptive defensive players in recent NFL seasons, agreeing in principle to a six year, $63 million contract. The contract includes over $33 million in guaranteed money, second only in NFL history to Peyton Manning's $34 million guaranteed. This contract, although yet to be inked, makes Suggs the highest paid linebacker in league history as well. But is he worth it?
Click on the "Jump" to see some quick comparisons.
Suggs was drafted by Baltimore in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft but did not start right off the bat as a full time player until the 2004 season. Here is a glimpse at his stats compared to some of the other dominant defensive players since 2004 in his category:
Name Tackles Sacks INT/TD Pass Def.
Terrell Suggs 341 41 4/2 26
Dwight Freeney 146 46.5 0/0 9
Albert Haynesworth 209 20.5 0/0 11
James Harrison 309 27.5 3/1 11
DeMarcus Ware 297 53.5 1/1 12
(Note: Ware’s production was only from 2005 season on)
From this comparison, while many will say that both Freeney and Haynesworth play different positions, I say Suggs is worth every bit as much if not more than any of these guys. Suggs has not missed an NFL game in his entire career. While he may not be defined specifically as either a defensive lineman or outside linebacker, his "hybrid" designation is proof of his versaltility as are his numbers. To have two interceptions, both returned for key touchdowns just last season is prime proof of the value he brings to this team. He is very favorably compared to a former Baltimore Raven, Adalius Thomas, who played a similar role on this team, although Thomas' speed allowed him to also play on Special Teams and even a few snaps at safety and corner while here. Unfortunately, Thomas' role has not received the same accolades since he left for greener pastures up in New England as a member of the Patriots.
So while so many fans were shocked at the size of Terrell Suggs contract and thought that money might have been better spent on a wide receiver or some of the Ravens future free agents (Haloti Ngata, Jared Gaither, Ben Grubbs), I say that within a year this will look like a steal, if $66 million can ever be considered a steal, even in the NFL.