Many NFL pass rushers have played effectively well past the age of 30. That is another reason why Terrell Suggs’ four-year, $28.5 million contract extension makes sense for the Ravens, for more than just salary cap reasons.
Three of the top 10 sack leaders in 2013 were older than Suggs. Robert Mathis (32 years old) of the Colts led the NFL with 19 ½ sacks. John Abraham (35 years old) of the Cardinals had 11 ½ sacks, and Jared Allen of the Vikings (31 years old) also had 11 ½ sacks.
Suggs is 31 years old, and his ability to defend the run makes him far more than just a pass-rushing specialist. He made it clear during Monday’s press conference that he did not feel near the end of his career.
“People, they see that (I’m) going into my 12th year, but people also forget I came in (to the NFL) when I was 20,” Suggs said. “Most guys that are going into their 12th year, they come in when they’re like 23, 25, and they’re going on 37. 35. I’m only 31 years old, and when they 2014 season starts, I still will be 31 years old.”
With Suggs (10 sacks last season) and Elvis Dumervil (9 ½ sacks) having a season together, the Ravens hope that combination is even more effective in 2014.
“When we signed Elvis a year ago, we were trying to match another guy who can affect the pocket along with Suggs,” Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. “We were just trying to get the best defensive players that we can on the field, and we’ll be trying to do the same thing this year.”
Suggs believes he can be like Abraham, Allen, and Mathis - effective pass rushers well past the age of 30. By signing Suggs through 2018, the Ravens believe the same thing.