||02-09-2013 09:48 PM
Offensive Tackles May Abound this year
Free-agent tackles could have a hard time getting paid
February 9, 2013, 3:54 PM EST
When assessing the value of a looming free agent, one of the most overlooked factors is a team’s ability to replace him.
For teams faced with the possibility of losing a tackle to free agency, this year it’ll be pretty easy to fill the position.
There’s a glut of free-agent tackles due to hit the market, and tackle is regarded as one of the deepest talent pools in this year’s draft. So if the Dolphins opt not to pay Jake Long $15 million under the franchise tag or to give him a long-term deal with the franchise number serving as the starting point, the Dolphins will have options.
Ditto for other teams, like the Chiefs. Instead of spending big money to keep Branden Albert, Kansas City could simply use the first overall pick on Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel, nailing down the position for at least the next five years. Or the Chiefs could sign one of the other tackles who’ll be available on the open market — especially after the first week, when the money slows down.
In New England, if Sebastian Vollmer wants too much money, the Pats could opt to go with Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon, supplementing the position with veterans who will be begging for work once the free-agent music stops playing.
This reality makes the Broncos’ reported willingness to use the franchise tag on Ryan Clady a little confusing. It could be, however, that the Broncos are more concerned about continuity, given that there’s a narrow window within which Peyton Manning can pursue another Super Bowl win.
Still, plenty of alternatives will be available in free agency, from Demetress Bell (who was cut this week by the Eagles) to Sam Baker to Gosder Cherilus to Winston Justice to Phil Loadholt to Bryant McKinnie to Andre Smith to Jermon Bushrod to Long, Albert, and Vollmer.
The sheer numbers, coupled with the influx of rookie tackles, will make it difficult to get paid.
If the Texans play it right, they may be able to pick up a solid right tackle.
||02-09-2013 09:57 PM
Re: Offensive Tackles May Abound this year
I'd like to see them draft a T. I like drafting into deep talent positions.
Perhaps the teams with cap space will burn it on the free agent pool.
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