INDIANAPOLIS — The Rams have a number of prominent players slated to become unrestricted free agents when the new league year hits on March 13, and one of them is defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh.
The former No. 2 overall pick out of Nebraska started all 16 regular-season games for Los Angeles, making 4.5 sacks, four tackles for loss, and 19 quarterback hits. But Suh was noticeably highly productive in the postseason, recording 1.5 sacks, two tackles for loss, and five quarterback hits in those three games. What doesn't show up in the stat sheet, though, is Suh's ability to fill gaps to help stop the run — which was part of why L.A. allowed only 98 yards rushing in the Divisional and Conference Championship rounds combined.
"He played really well, especially — I think the biggest thing you look at with Ndamukong is outstanding job in the playoffs where he was really affecting the game in a variety of ways," head coach Sean McVay said on Thursday. "You saw why he's been such a force throughout the course of his career."
So would the Rams like to have him back for 2019?
"He's definitely somebody that we're very interested in," McVay said. "I know he's going to get some interest around the league and as we kind of navigate through this process a lot of those decisions are still to be made. But I think he did a great job of making a case for why he's still such a special player in this league."
More than Suh's production, the sheer number of snaps Suh plays would make him hard to replace. He was on the field for 88 percent of Los Angeles' defensive reps in the regular season. Only linebacker Cory Littleton, safety John Johnson, cornerback Marcus Peters, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and safety Lamarcus Joyner were on the field more.
But with general manager Les Snead saying L.A. does not plan to use the franchise tag, it seems highly likely that Suh will be able to hit the open market in a couple weeks. Still, while acknowledging the opportunities that come with the week of the NFL Combine, McVay reiterated the Rams' interest in potentially keeping the defensive lineman in the fold for 2019.
"I mean, we've talked to him but I think this time really provides a great opportunity for us to get a feel through the draft, some other different things," McVay said. "But he's certainly somebody, if we can work it out, we'd want to be able to have him back no doubt about it."
Check out photos of Los Angeles Rams players at the NFL Combine through the years. (Credit: Associated Press)