Could arguably the top guard in the NFL hit 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 seven 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 offensive linemen:
The Offensive Linemen
Carl Nicks, OG, New Orleans Saints
Carl Nicks is one of the premier guards in the league. It’s very possible that the Saints won’t be able to pony up the money necessary to keep him given the money they gave G Jahri Evans last offseason. The Saints would have two of the highest paid guards in league on the same team. If Nicks hits the open market plenty of teams will be lining up to pay him a king’s ransom.
Demetrius Bell, OT, Buffalo Bills
Buffalo has scoured the NFL to find a LT since trading Jason Peters to the Eagles. Demetrius Bell has emerged into a very good, young LT. The problem for the Bills will be dishing out big contracts to Ryan Fitzpatrick (done), Stevie Johnson, and Bell. It will be tough for the Bills to get all three under contract but they have to find a way to ink the 27-year old LT.
Ben Grubbs, OG, Baltimore Ravens
Grubbs may get a contract sooner rather than later from the Ravens. After inking Marshal Yanda last offseason, Ozzie Newsome will look to keep the core of this unit intact. I don’t see a chance Grubbs leaves Baltimore.
Chris Myers, OC, Houston Texans
Myers has found a perfect fit in Houston and has been a standout. In all likelihood, he will stay in Houston but could find more money elsewhere. The Texans can’t afford to disrupt the continuity of this offensive line for the protection of Matt Schaub and Arian Foster. About a 10% chance Myers isn’t back in Houston.
Scott Wells, OC, Green Bay Packers
Much like Myers in Houston, Wells has found the perfect system to fit his style of play. In reality, Wells isn’t nearly as valuable to any other team than the Packers and stays in Green Bay.
Levi Brown, OT, Arizona Cardinals
Levi Brown needs to move to the right side. He is not a starting caliber LT in the league. Arizona’s OL is among the worse in the NFL but Brown is playing out of position. He could be a good RT in Arizona or elsewhere. The Cards probably re-sign him because he’s the best option with the hopes of getting a LT in the draft. Brown shouldn’t command much money given his limited ability to play the right side.
Jeff Saturday, OC, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have to re-sign Jeff Saturday. Saturday and the Colts are synanomous at this point and he needs to protect Peyton Manning for one last run. Saturday probably won’t command many years or much money on the open market so it makes sense that he stays in Indy.
Nick Hardwick, OC, San Diego Chargers
Hardwick has lost a step but still brings enough to be considered a solid center option. Hardwick could be lost in the shuffle in San Diego as they attempt to re-sign bigger priorities. Hardwick will be a nice, rather inexpensive option for a team in need of a veteran center. Chicago could come calling very early on in free agency.
Best of the Rest
Nate Livings, OG, Cincinnati Bengals
Jeremy Zuttah, OG, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Todd McClure, OC, Atlanta Falcons
Khalif Barnes, OT, Oakland Raiders
Roberto Garza, OG, Chicago Bears
Barry Richardson, OT, Kansas City Chiefs
John Sullivan, OC, Minnesota Vikings
Jacob Bell, OG, St. Louis Rams
Trai Essex, OG, Pittsburgh Steelers
Jake Scott, OG, Tennessee Titans
Adam Snyder, OT, San Francisco 49ers
Dan Koppen, OC, New England Patriots