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2009 NFL Free Agent Defensive Linemen

By: Greg Davis

Albert Haynesworth, UFA, Tennessee Titans
Haynesworth has had his share of controversy surrounding him in the past, but he’s turned things around and has focused on simply playing the game. This year, he improved upon his ’07 season by totaling 8.5 sacks, making 51 total tackles, and forcing three fumbles. The Titans look like a different team on defense depending on whether or not Haynesworth is on the field; with him on the field they are one of the best defenses in the league because of the pressure he takes off of others. Expect Tennessee to work hard to keep him in hopes that he continues to bolster their defensive play as a whole.

Bertrand Berry, UFA, Arizona Cardinals
Berry finished the regular season with five sacks and a pair of forced fumbles for the Cardinals in fourteen games of action. He may not be the most coveted potential free agent at his position, but he’s definitely effective when he’s healthy and playing his best. He’ll be looked at as a role player on the market and there’s a decent chance that the Cardinals will move on.

Jovan Haye, RFA, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Haye now has three seasons of experience in the league, but he had a down season this year after a strong ’07 campaign. He made 33 tackles and had no sacks, as he battled injuries at times this season and never showed the same rhythm that he did when he made 68 tackles and had six sacks last season. Haye will still be of interest to a good deal of teams based on the fact that he has shown in the past that he can regularly apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks. His age (26) and down season will make it more likely that the Buccaneers re-sign the defensive tackle.

Rocky Bernard, UFA, Seattle Seahawks
Bernard had an off the field incident prior to the ’08 season, but returned from a one-game suspension to have another quality season while playing for a struggling team Seattle team. He has had as many as eight and a half sacks in a season and closed this season with four sacks. He also had a career high of 55 tackles this year and forced a fumble. All in all, Bernard may not be at the top of a lot of free agent wish lists, but if the Seahawks don’t keep him around, some team will be getting a reliable defensive tackle.

Other Defensive Linemen
Jonathan Babineaux, UFA, Atlanta Falcons
Rocky Bernard, Seattle Seahawks
Kevin Carter, UFA, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chris Canty, UFA, Dallas Cowboys
Shaun Cody, UFA, Detroit Lions
Jovan Haye, UFA, Tampa Bay Bucs
Tank Johnson, UFA, Dallas Cowboys
John Thornton, UFA, Cincinnati Bengals
Marcus Tubbs, UFA, Seattle Seahawks

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