I'm Free to do What I Want Any Old Time. The O-Line Free Agents
The title is simply there because I wanted the word free in it and I’m obsessed with 90’s music. Anyway lets talk free agency.
With a record low Franchise tags being signed and with at least 2 of them not signing until absolutely necessary, 2 transition tags and 1 tag being put on a Kicker, some how we still have relatively few free agents.
However there are a few diamonds in the rough, so lets talk about who we have and where they should probably end up.
Lets start with the largest area of wealth, the O-line.
Eugene Monroe, OT
A former 1st round pick for the Jags, Monroe got traded to the Ravens for a 4th & a 5th. A year on and about to enter his prime he is sure to demand some serious money as a long-term option for a team in desperate need of serious O-Line help. Is he one on the best Tackles in the league? No, but he is reliable and definitely worth more than a 4th & 5th. He could become a regular in a lot of lineups.
Where does he go? The Dolphins have to be the front-runners here, surely. They need a complete overhaul of their O-line. Regardless of whats happened in the media, it was still a woefully bad O-line that needs to improve to see what they actually have with Tannehill. With just under $40m in cap space, some of this needs to go on O-line and go to someone without character issues. The Raiders with their Scrooge McDuck money could also possibly make a move.
Jared Veldheer – OT
This release left a few people scratching their heads. The Raiders are short on talent and Veldheer is talented, not to mention the ridiculous amount of cap space the Raiders have obtained this year. So why did the Raiders release a talented player in a position of need? Well maybe they don’t think he’s worth as much as he thinks he is. Maybe this is the first smart business move we’ve seen from this team in years. If Veldheer hits the open market, he probably wont get everything he’s demanding, even if he does the Raiders have the cap space to come in and offer a little more.
Where does he go? I personally think the Raiders re-sign him. They have too many needs to address in the draft and there really isn’t a much better option in free agency. Plus the Raiders can spend some of the money they are currently using in money fights to pay for him. The Ravens might be another landing spot, but I don’t think they’ve got the cap space to give him what he wants. Finally the Dolphins. They’ll probably be assigned to every player on this list.
Alex Mack, C
Alex Mack isn’t a conventional free agent. He signed a transition tag with the Browns. What this means is he is still a Browns player, but teams have the chance to come in and take him off their hands. The Browns then have 5 days to make a counter-offer. Mack has been one of the top Centres in the league and would be a great addition to any team.
Where does he go? He’s not going anywhere. The Browns can beat pretty much anyone’s offer thanks to a ridiculous amount of cap space. What it does mean is they have a little more time to try to decide what they want to do with the team and where they want to go with their 15 draft picks. This year could make or break the Browns.
Brandon Albert, OT
Seems to always be always on this list. He’s been a great player for the Chiefs, but after spending a 1st on a OT last year, it’s time for him to move on. Despite being a great player he has had some major injury concerns and the Chiefs now either needed to sign him up or let him go, after he was Franchise tagged last year. Unfortunately it is time for Albert to move on.
Where does he go? The Dolphins seem to be the obvious choice. They can probably pick him up a bit cheaper than Veldheer or Monroe, which has to be appealing for a team that has so many holes on the O-line. More importantly Albert can provide some leadership and stability to a position that was rocked with controversy last year. Could be a great choice for the Dolphins. Another landing spot could be the Raiders, who could probably use some leadership on a young team that’s rebuilding.
Michael Oher, OT
Despite being a Superbowl winner, Oher really hasn’t lived up to what people were expecting (well the big fans of the Blind Side anyway). The main issue is his run blocking which has been below par and been a big part in the Ravens struggling in the run game. As a Pass Blocker however, he’s been pretty decent, but it does mean he will have to fit into a very specific team.
Where does he go? He’s probably a back up on most teams and certainly won’t be on anyone’s Blind Side (sorry, couldn’t resist), if anything he could be a starting Right Tackle for a few teams. The Dolphins are desperate for an improvement in the run game, as well as keeping Tannehill upright, so I gotta think Oher is of little use to them. The Falcons could be a landing spot, so long as they’ve got the money for him.
So who else?
The following could bolster a teams roster, but aren’t standout players.
Geoff Schwartz/ Jon Asamoah – G: 2 Guards and Brandon Albert could mean an epic change for the Chiefs O-line. Out of the 2 Guards, Schwartz seems to be the player the Chiefs want to keep but only at the right price. I find it hard to believe they let both these guys go. The G-men could be a decent landing spot for either of these and will almost certainly get a bargain.
Evan Dietrich-Smith – C: Dietrich-Smith worked his way up through the roster and to me it’s kind of a shock they’re letting him go. Dietrich- Smith took over from Jeff Saturday who was only there for a year himself. To me the Packers have to create some unity on that line that struggled to keep Rodgers safe. So why not try to keep him on the team. He is almost certainly worth more to them than anyone else.
Anthony Collins – OT: Smart move from the Bengals. The Bengals are a team stacked with talent, which will be due big contracts soon. So if they let Collins hit free agency they might be able to get a bargain in this guy, unless he’s picked up by another team, at that point they’ll have paid over the odds and the Bengals will have to find a budget OT. Could be a good fit with (you guessed it), the Dolphins.
There are many other players hitting free agency, all I’ve done is go through the ones that I think we should be watching. In truth a large chunk of these guys probably stick with their own team. One honourable mention to Levi Brown who got dropped as I was writing this. Should make a good addition to a team that can pony up and pay him.
Right lets look at Wideouts next.