The Miami Dolphins made the biggest splash of free agency after agreeing to a $114 million contract with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Not only does Suh fill Miami’s biggest need, but he brings a nastiness the Dolphins’ defense lacked in recent seasons.
With Suh, Miami's defensive line is stacked.
Do the Dolphins have the best defensive line in the NFL? They certainly have a case on paper.
Two of Miami's four starters -- Suh and Cameron Wake -- are Pro Bowlers and among the best at their positions. Olivier Vernon is a budding defensive end who has 18 quarterback sacks the past two seasons, and Earl Mitchell is a solid No. 2 defensive tackle.
In addition, backup defensive end Dion Jordan is a former No. 3 overall pick and the third defensive end coming off the bench. Despite past mistakes, Jordan has a lot of ability and could contribute with good coaching next season. This is also assuming Miami doesn't keep 31-year-old defensive tackle Randy Starks, who started last year and is due $5 million in 2015. The Dolphins have to slash salary and Starks is a prime target with Suh now in the starting lineup.
Other top defensive lines include the Buffalo Bills' foursome of Marcell Dareus, Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes, who is a free agent but reportedly will re-sign with Buffalo. The Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets are two additional teams with top-flight defensive lines.
Miami’s defensive line certainly looks elite on paper in March. But that’s only a projection based on past performance. Suh, Wake, Vernon and Mitchell eventually must come together on the field and prove it during the regular season this fall.