T-Sizzle: A Gift and a Curse

July 16, 2009 | Tom Clayton

I have to start out by stating that I am a gigantic fan of T-Sizzle; he has been my favorite Raven for the past few years. With that out of the way, I must admit that I have mixed feelings about the signing of Terrell Suggs yesterday. Suggs signed a six year, $63.5 million dollar contract with an astonishing $38 million dollars guaranteed. Suggs becomes the highest paid linebacker in the NFL and his signing bonus is the biggest ever given to any defensive player in NFL history.

On one hand I am extremely happy to see that T-Sizzle will be a Raven for the next six seasons. At just 26 years old, T-Sizzle may be coming into his own as a truly elite linebacker and a team leader. The Ravens also know they are getting a tough, durable football player; Suggs has played in every game during his six year NFL career.

A lot of people are making the statement that the Ravens overpaid for Suggs because he doesn’t put up the same big sack numbers of other defensive ends, but those players don’t have anywhere near the same amount of responsibly in their team’s defense as Suggs. Suggs is a versatile linebacker that can get to the quarterback, stuff the run, and drop into pass coverage. I think his versatility makes him more valuable to his team than other one dimensional players such as Dwight Freeney and Jared Allen.

In his first six years with the Ravens since being drafted out of Arizona State, T-Sizzle has racked up 53 sacks and 5 interceptions while making the trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl three times. And at 26 years old, Suggs is just 17 sacks behind Peter Boulware’s Ravens record of 70 sacks. On top of his pass rushing ability, Suggs is an enormously underrated run stopper; he is stout at the point of attack and does a great job of shedding blockers to get to the ball carrier.

On the flipside of the argument, T-Sizzle’s contract is worth more in guaranteed money than players such as Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Larry Fitzgerald. I have a difficult time swallowing the fact the Raven’s are going to pay an outside linebacker “quarterback money”.

My biggest fear is that this contract may become a roadblock when the Ravens attempt to resign Haloti Ngata and Joe Flacco. Suggs is an enormous part of the Ravens defense but no player is more important to the teams continued success on defense then Ngata.

I also wonder what happened to the “hometown discount” Suggs had discussed with the Sun just after the season ended. If this contract includes a “hometown discount” Baltimore is a pretty expensive city.

I congratulate T-Sizzle on his contract though. He deserves it and has worked hard to put himself in a position for this type of payday. It will be nice to go into this season without worrying about T-Sizzle’s contract status and his mindset with being saddled with the Franchise Tag for a second year. After signing a contract of this magnitude the pressure is going to be turned way up; but Suggs has the personality and talent to prove that he is indeed worthy of the contract he signed yesterday.