Late in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17, Miami Dolphins linebacker Bradley Chubb crumpled to the turf as his knee buckled out from under him. In the midst of a Pro Bowl caliber year and leading the team with 11 sacks, Chubb suffered a torn ACL, an injury that will cost him the remainder of the year and likely a large portion of next year. As Miami prepares for a playoff run, they suddenly have to fill a big hole on their defense.
Chubb joins Jaelan Phillips, who tore an Achilles tendon on Black Friday, as Dolphins starting edge rushers sidelined for the season with devastating injuries. How do the Dolphins fill that hole? Could it be by bringing back a former defensive tackle?
Ndamukong Suh, the 13-year veteran, five-time Pro Bowl selection, and three-time First-Team All-Pro, visited with the Dolphins two weeks ago. He has said he wants to continue playing, and the Dolphins suddenly have a roster spot. Suh could add depth on the defensive line, plugging up the middle and helping the Dolphins stuff the run. If he does have something left in the tank, bringing him back to Miami, where he played three seasons, including one Pro Bowl year, could help the Dolphins as the playoffs begin.
Of course, the Dolphins have lost an edge rusher, and Suh is not a one-for-one replacement. Miami, whenever they officially move Chubb to injured reserve, may be inclined to look for a true edge rusher to provide depth to the roster. They could also use Chubb’s roster spot to activate inside linebacker Jerome Baker off injured reserve.
Moving forward, the Dolphins’ pass rush is going to be led by Andrew Van Ginkel and Emmanuel Ogbah. Melvin Ingram has one more game to be activated from the practice squad, with just one game remaining on Miami’s regular season schedule. Can the Dolphins make it through with just three primary pass rushers, asking Van Ginkel, Ogbah, and Ingram to make up for the losses of Phillips and Chubb?
If the Dolphins think those three are going to be able to get the job done, Suh may be a possibility to add to the roster.
Suh is a mercenary, looking to play for a contending team who will pay him. Miami, according to the NFL Players Association, only have $1.2 million in salary cap space this year. That is little room, but Suh signed with the Eagles during the season last year on a $750,000 contract - with bonuses in the deal.
Is Suh in football shape? Is it worth trying to fit him into the defense this late in the season? Do the Dolphins need to stick to finding an edge rusher? Does Baker need a roster spot this week? A lot of questions have to be answered, but there at least seems the possibility that the Dolphins could consider Suh as the roster replacement for Chubb.