NFL's Future

2014 NFL Mock Draft

2012 Free Agent Defensive Linemen

Posted by Brad On November - 8 - 2011

Could Arizona let one of their best defenders walk in free agency?

It’s never too early to start talking about NFL free agency.  If your team is like mine and you have already packed in the season eight games in here is your hope.  Our seven part series highlighting the top free agents by position should give you some hope.  Here’s a look at the defensive linemen:

The Defensive Linemen

Calais Campbell, DE, Arizona Cardinals

I don’t think there is a chance Arizona lets Campbell walk.  He has been a consistent force on an underperforming defense.  He will just turn 26 at the beginning of next season and is emerging into a Pro Bowl caliber player.  Campbell would fetch a pretty heavy ransom on the open market and Arizona will have to pony up cash to keep him in Cardinal uniform.

Robert Mathis, DE, Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are going to have tough decisions to make come free agency.  Mathis has expressed his discontent with the lack of a long term contract extension with the Colts.  Given the amount of free agents and the state of flux in Indy, Mathis could be the odd man out.  He will be 31 next season and will be looking for one more big contract.

Antonio Garay, NT, San Diego Chargers

Garay has bounced around the NFL and finally found a home in San Diego.  He will be 33 next season and is probably looking at a short-term contract (3 years) to stay in San Diego.  The Chargers haven’t had a force in the middle since losing Jamal Williams.  They will look to lock up Garay as Cam Thomas hasn’t worked out as a long-term option.

Cliff Avril, DE, Detroit Lions

Avril will only be 26 next season and is just now learning to be a more complete defensive end.  He can get to the QB as evidenced by his 5 sacks in eight games.  Given the resources inside on the Detroit defensive line they may choose to surround Suh, Williams, and Fairley with a cheaper option in the hopes of similar success.  With the attention the interior of Detroit’s defensive line, it’s hard to say if they couldn’t get similar success from a cheaper option.  Avril may cash in on his strong 2011 season. 

John Abraham, DE, Atlanta Falcons

Abraham will be 34 next season but still shows an ability to get to the QB.  Given his age and the amount of money wrapped up in Ray Edwards the Falcons could look at going a younger, cheaper route.  Abraham may choose to find greener pastures…literally. 

Jason Jones, DT, Tennessee Titans

Jason Jones is an undersized DT that is often injured.  He’s ultra productive when healthy but he will present risk for a team willing to give him a long-term contract.  Jones has an explosive first step and will only be 26 next season.  Jones may be the ultimate risk vs. reward pick in free agency.

Sione Pouha, NT, New York Jets

Pouha isn’t going to be a guy that gets a ton of sacks but can eat space in the middle.  At 33, his best option is to stay in New York for one last run at a short-term contract.

Matt Roth, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars

Roth has bounced around from Miami to Cleveland to Jacksonville.  He has been relatively productive at each spot but hasn’t found a way to stick anywhere.  Roth is still relatively young and has proven to be effective in both the 3-4 and 4-3.  That versatility will prove to be important if Roth hits free agency.

Adam Carriker, DE, Washington Redskins

Carriker has been solid thus far in 2011.  He underperformed in St. Louis after being a first-round pick but has looked more solid as a five-technique in Washington.  Carriker may look to re-sign with the Redskins given his success.

The Best of the Rest:

Aubrayo Franklin, DT, New Orleans Saints

Kroy Biermann, DE, Atlanta Falcons

Israel Idonije, DE, Chicago Bears

Jeremy Mincey, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars

Aaron Smith, DE, Pittsburgh Steelers

Paul Soliai, NT, Miami Dolphins

Kelly Gregg, NT, Kansas City Chiefs

Red Bryant, DT, Seattle Seahawks

Kendall Langford, DE, Miami Dolphins

Jonathan Fanene, DT, Cincinnati Bengals

Chris Hoke, DE, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pat Sims, DT, Cincinnati Bengals

Marcus Benard, DE, Cleveland Browns

Wallace Gilberry, DE, Kansas City Chiefs

Dave Ball, DE, Tennessee Titans

Amobi Okoye, DT, Chicago Bears

Brodrick Bunkley, DT, Denver Broncos

Kedric Golston, DE, Washington Redskins

Jarvis Moss, DE, Oakland Raiders

Derrick Harvey, DE, Denver Broncos

Shaun Rogers, DT, New Orleans Saints

Letroy Guion, DT, Minnesota Vikings

Shaun Ellis, DE, New England Patriots

Cory Redding, DE, Baltimore Ravens