LOS ANGELES -- They opened their facility, detailed their scheme, picked up the check, and now, hopelessly, they wait.
The Los Angeles Rams were the third of at least four stops on Ndamukong Suh's captivating, flourishing free-agent tour, which traveled previously through New Orleans and Tennessee and will now head 350 miles north, for a Wednesday visit with Jon Gruden's Oakland Raiders.
The Rams' coaches went through film with Suh at their headquarters in Thousand Oaks, California, on Tuesday afternoon, then Sean McVay and key members of the front office hit up Los Angeles for dinner. They don't offer the best fit and probably won't provide the most money, but the Rams possess something that is both captivating and unique: The ability to play under Wade Phillips, one of the game's most celebrated defensive coordinators, and the ability to play alongside Aaron Donald, perhaps the only defensive tackle more disruptive than Suh.
Adding Suh to the same defensive line as Donald seems unrivaled throughout NFL history, akin to DeMarcus Cousins joining the same New Orleans Pelicans frontcourt as another skilled, athletic, explosive big man in Anthony Davis -- except, the Rams hope, with success more easily attainable.
Donald and Suh would give the Rams quite possibly the game's two best interior pass-rushers on the same defensive line, with quite possibly the game's best secondary -- consisting of Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, Lamarcus Joyner, John Johnson and Nickell Robey-Coleman -- situated behind them.
Suh has spent the vast majority of his eight-year career -- a career that consists of three All-Pro selections and 51 1/2 sacks -- operating between the opposing left guard and left tackle as the 3-technique. But that's where Donald plays, so the Rams would ask Suh to be their nose tackle in 3-4 base sets, with Michael Brockers remaining a defensive end on the other side. Suh has only played in a 4-3 system, but Phillips' 3-4 defense operates similarly as a one-gap penetrating front.
Suh, 31, wouldn't have to make much of an adjustment -- but he might have to give up some money.
The Rams have something in the neighborhood of $25 million in 2018 salary-cap space once you account for their draft pool. But they have to set aside enough room to potentially give Donald a market-altering extension; the type Suh signed only three years earlier. They would prefer to lock up Suh to a multiyear contract, a source said, but they can't do so for top dollar. A three-year deal averaging $10 million could make sense for them, but the question is whether it makes sense for Suh.
Suh was once the game's highest-paid defensive player, a distinction Donald now aims to hold. He signed a six-year, $114 million contract with the Miami Dolphins in 2015, after five seasons with the Detroit Lions, and now the Rams hope Suh is simply looking to win.
The Rams, 11-5 last season, can offer him that chance. They first broached the possibility of signing Suh with Donald, just to make sure the reigning Defensive Player of the Year wouldn't feel insulted by the aggressive pursuit of another interior defender when his own extension remains unsettled.
Donald was good with it.
Now the Rams will wait and see if Suh feels the same.