Terrell Suggs proved many wrong when he returned to the Ravens line-up in Week 7 of the 2012 season despite partially tearing his Achilles tendon. Most thought he would be lost for the season yet 6 months after suffering the injury he sacked Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in his 2012 debut.
The seemingly early return was criticized by many and labeled too risky. So called medical experts thought the Ravens all-time sack leader might suffer further damage to his Achilles and miss even more significant playing time.
Fortunately for the Ravens and Suggs it didn’t go down that way. He finished the season relatively healthy save for an unrelated biceps injury.
He also finished as a World Champion, contributing a big performance in the Divisional Playoff against Denver (10 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 FF, 1 PD).
Despite the huge day at Mile High Suggs’ performance during the 2012 campaign was uneven, disappearing at times. Few questioned his rather pedestrian contributions preferring instead to marvel at his warrior mentality and willingness to put himself in harms way for the benefit of the team.
Now with an offseason to heal and to improve his conditioning, Suggs hopes to return to his 2011 form when he was the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Year.
And he may have to do exactly that to keep his job beyond 2013.
In 2014 Suggs’ cap number will rest at $12.4M. To release him would cost $4.6M in dead cap money BUT the Ravens would save $7.8M in salary and cap space.
What if Elvis Dumervil and Courtney Upshaw play well in 2013? What if rookie John Simon finds his way and plays the way the Ravens’ scouts anticipate? What if rookie Kapron Lewis-Moore is ready to step up in 2014? What if together those two 2013 rookies who combined, represent less than $1M in cap space, provide 80% of Suggs’ productivity?
Clearly $1M is less than 20% of the cap savings ($7.8M).
Wouldn’t Suggs be vulnerable to the 80/20-Rule (80% of the productivity for 20% of the price) and then be shown the door?
After all, it is a business, right?
This isn’t intended to put a heel on Suggs’ ample hind parts and push him out the door. The intent IS to point out that the big cap number and the potential cap savings suggest that Suggs must deliver in 2013.
Essentially he’s playing this coming season to preserve his current contract.
And hopefully that means he’ll be healthy and report in the kind of shape he was in during the summer of 2011.
Otherwise this summer could be Suggs’ last as a Baltimore Raven.