Defensive end Justin Tuck worked to recruit free agents to last year’s Raiders. He’s well connected and well liked, and doesn’t mind lobbying for a team he hopes will improve after years of struggle.
He was asked about soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Ndamukong Suh during his trip through radio row, a popular promotional area prior to Sunday’s Super Bowl, and figured he might as well make a pitch.
"Can I use this as a pulpit to get him to Oakland right now?" Tuck said on Thursday morning, via MLive.com. "He seems to be an Oakland Raider.”
Tuck says that Suh’s physical style of play, which extends beyond the whistle sometimes, would fit a Raider image branded when the team was a feared franchise in the 1970s and 80s
"He's Raider-ish," Tuck said. "That's one of the reasons why I know Raider Nation would applaud that move, beyond the fact he's an awesome football player. But he kind of fits the mold of the toughness and the ferocious play that build the Oakland Raiders."
Even a perfect fit doesn’t guarantee Suh’s trek west from the Detroit Lions, where he cultivated a reputation as an excellent player with a mean streak. The three-time first-team All-Pro is looking for a massive contract that would make him one of the NFL’s highest paid defensive players. After J.J. Watt signed a $100 million deal earlier this year, Suh won’t come cheap.
The Raiders have plenty of salary-cap space this season -- it could be in the $60 million range -- but typically don’t go for big-time free agents. General manager Reggie McKenzie has fewer holes to fill this offseason and, while he prefers to build through the draft, he might be tempted by a big-ticket item or two.
Maybe. Maybe not.
The prospect of bringing in a player like Suh certainly intrigues Tuck and the fan base he currently represents.
"I know Raider Nation would love to have him," Tuck said. "I think Detroit would love to keep him. But, you know, hopefully it works out for us and I get an opportunity to play with that guy, because it would be phenomenal for what we're trying to build in Oakland."