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Top 2012 OL Free Agents

Before a year officially ends in the NFL, preparations have already been underway for months as to whom all 32 teams are looking to target for the upcoming draft, and in the free-agent market. While teams still hold rights to franchise tags, and have the ability to retain various players before free agency begins in March, I have a list of the players I feel are top offensive linemen listed below.

When free agency opens up I will update this list, and all other positions linked below. Outside of the actual season taking place, the anticipation of free agency has to be one of my favorite times of the year, as NFL Futures will change, not just for the players who sign with new teams – but for their new fellow teammates as well.

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Last Updated – 3/20

Tackles

Player (former team) New Team Notes
Eric Winston (Hou)  Chiefs   Will play in a different scheme in Kansas City but should still be a solid right tackle. The Chiefs have done well in free agency, now lets see if it translates in a return to the playoffs. 

 

Jared Gaither (SD) Re-Signed4 yr Whether the Chargers retained Gaither or McNeill, they were taking a high upside risk. Gaither is a few years younger than McNeill so it makes sense, especially since he played well down the stretch. 

 

Marcus McNeill (SD)
Demetrius Bell (Buf)
Kareem McKenzie (NYG)
Jeff Backus (Det)  Re-Signed  Solid veteran will be back in Detroit for another two years. Why not as the party is finally getting good and after all these years in the motor city, I’m sure Backus will want to be around for the good times. 

 

Anthony Collins (Ben)
Geoff Schwartz (Car)

Guards

Player (former team) New Team Notes
Carl Nicks (NO)  Buccaneers,5 yr, 47.5 million  Why the Buccaneers didn’t spend money last off-season is beyond me, when they were one of the lowest cap teams in the league?Right or wrong, Tampa Bay seems to understand now that they need to add quality, veteran talent to their young offense. The additions of Vincent Jackson, and top free agent guard Nicks, is a great start to turn last years’ nightmare around.

 

Evan Mathis (Phi)  Re-Signed5 yr  With some of the better guards already off the market, re-signing Mathis was a good move for Philadelphia. Mathis will help LeSean McCoy stay on schedule as one of the premier tail backs. 

 

Ben Grubbs (Bal)  Saints,5 yr, 36 million  After losing Carl Nicks to the Buccaneers, the Saints went out and grabbed a respectable guard in Grubbs.
Chad Rinehart (Buf)  Tender Bills seem set on keeping Rinehart, after promising time as a starter, due to injury last year. If Rinehart puts together a full year of play like last years performance, he will command over 20 million next year.

 

 

Mike Brisiel (Hou)  Raiders

5 yr, 20 million

 With the Raiders moving back to a zone scheme running game, adding Mike Brisiel was a great move.
Geoff Schwartz (Car)
Jake Scott (Ten)
Vernon Carey (Mia)

 Steve Hutchinson Signs with Titans - Hutchinson was released by the Vikings and quickly signed by the Titans. Clearly on the down side of his career at 34 years of age, I’m not sure how long Hutchinson will remain a starter in the league. That said, he should help a front line that was arguably one of the worst in football last year, for the running game.

Travelle Wharton Signs with Bengals - An upgrade for the running game as Wharton was released for contract reason in Carolina. I have a feeling the running game will be needed more this year, as opposing defensive coordinators will be paying much more attention to Dalton and Green, this off-season and the season to come.

Centers

Player (former team) New Team Notes
Scott Wells (GB)  Rams4yr, 24 million  This was a nice addition for an offensive line that needs lots of help. Bringing in a quality veteran center to be the captain of the line is a great way to get things started.Now lets see if the Rams can improve the rest of the line.
Chris Myers (Hou)  Re-Signed4yr, 25 million  After cutting Winston, re-signing Myers makes me feel a little better about the offensive line for Arian Foster next year.
Nick Hardwick (SD)  Re-Signed3 yr It appears the Chargers are set on reshuffling part of the offense, but at least they kept Hardwick to lead the offensive line. Good re-sign.
Samson Satele (Oak)
Dan Koppen (NE)

 

Recommended Sites For FA Info: Rotoworld | Pro Football Focus | Walter Football | Football’s Future

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