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2011 NFL Free Agent Offensive Linemen

By: Roshan Bhagat

Offensive Tackles:

Tyson Clabo (ATL) – Clabo has formed one half of Atlanta’s dominant run-blocking right side. He’s a nasty, physical player and one of the league’s better rights. Though he hopes to stay in Atlanta, remember that Clabo entered the league as an undrafted free agent, so this will be his first truly lucrative deal. If the market shows a much better deal, he could take it.

Doug Free (DAL) – Though the Cowboys have found a nice left tackle in Doug Free, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to re-sign him this offseason. The Cowboys are expected to exceed the new salary cap by about $18 million with not enough quick fixes to amend the situation. They’ll make re-signing Free a priority after the debacle in their pass protection last year, but Free could be one of the unheralded prizes of free agency this year.

Jared Gaither (BAL) – Gaither says he’s completely healed from a back injury that sidelined him for the entire 2010 season. Prior to it, he was an ascending left tackle. However, with the trade up in the draft for Jah Reid and other grumblings from the front office, it doesn’t appear likely that the Ravens will return Gaither to solidify their tackle situation. Depending on the deal, Gaither could be another nice pick-up in free agency at a premium position.

Jammal Brown (WAS) – The Redskins traded for Brown, but played him at right tackle with rookie Trent Williams playing the left side. As far as contracts go, there is a big distinction between left and right. Brown will surely test the market hoping he can be paid like a left, but between his injury history and the supply of tackles on the market, he’ll likely be paid like a right.

Matt Light (NE) – Light will be 33 this season and coming off his worst season in several years giving up double digit sacks on the left side. 2nd year right tackle Sebastian Vollmer is coming off an All-Pro season at right tackle and is quite capable of kicking over to left tackle. The Patriots do a terrific job in letting players walk past their prime and this seems like another relationship they will sever this offseason.

Jermon Bushrod (NO) – Bushrod has been inconsistent at left tackle the past two years, but has shown enough to the Saints that they have confidence in his ability to do the job. Charles Brown is still getting healthy and doesn’t appear to be a realistic option for this season and the Saints seem interested in keeping their offensive line intact.

Willie Colon (PIT) – Colon had started 50 consecutive games for the Steelers at right tackle with improvement each year before missing all of 2010 with a torn Achilles. Though the Steelers boat has seemingly left without Colon, Colon insists that he’ll take a “hometown discount” to remain with the organization. If he becomes a free agent, he could be a nice fill-in for a team with a void on the right side.

Other Notable Free Agents:
Alex Barron (DAL)
Ryan Harris (DEN)
Corey Hilliard (DET)
Rashad Butler (HOU)
Charlie Johnson (IND)
Ryan O'Callaghan (KC)
Pat McQuistan (MIA)
Ryan Cook (MIN)
Zach Strief (NO)
Wayne Hunter (NYJ)
Khalif Barnes (OAK)
Langston Walker (OAK)
Mario Henderson (OAK)
Trai Essex (PIT)
Jonathan Scott (PIT)
Jeromey Clary (SD)
Barry Sims (SF)
Sean Locklear (SEA)
Adam Goldberg (STL)
John Greco (STL)
Jeremy Trueblood (TB)
Stephon Heyer (WAS)

Interior Linemen:

Carl Nicks (NO) - Restricted – In 2010, Nicks outperformed his counterpart at guard and should be able to land a similar contract on the open market. However, having accrued only three seasons, Nicks will remain a restricted free agent with a 1st round tender. Though it wouldn’t be a terrible decision to go after him, with the chaos of this shortened offseason, I’d be surprised if restricted free agency is actively pursued.

Davin Joseph (TB) – Davin Joseph was playing terrific football for the Buccaneers before he fractured his foot in November, sending him to the IR. On the cusp of the playoffs, Joseph has insisted that while he’d like to return, he’d like to see the team take a step in the right direction. Given the ridiculous cap space the Buccaneers have available and the raising of the cap floor, the team will have little choice, but to spend more money this offseason. Still, the team has said that re-signing Joseph will remain their top priority in the 72-hour window once the league resumes.

Harvey Dahl (ATL) – With both Clabo and Dahl set to his free agency, this could be a rough offseason for Matt Ryan and Atlanta’s offense. The acquisition of Julio Jones should open up the offense, but losing one, if not both, could be a big overall step back for the Falcons, whose offense is predicated upon running the football. Dahl is a nasty right guard that does his job well all-around.

Daryn Colledge (GB) – Colledge was inconsistent last year, but is still a capable starter in the league. While he isn’t capable of moving defenders off the ball with regularity, his pass protection inside is solid. However, with TJ Lang and several other potential prospects vying for playing time, the Packers may not have the money or inclination to commit to Colledge.

Marshal Yanda (BAL) - Yanda just turned in an All-Pro caliber season playing out of position at right tackle. The Ravens understand his importance more than anyone else and have identified him as a key player on their offense while Yanda has expressed strong interest in returning. Barring something out of the ordinary, Yanda will return to Baltimore and kick back in to guard.

Other Notable Free Agents:
Alan Faneca (ARZ)
Deuce Lutui (ARZ)
Lyle Sendlein (ARZ)
Justin Blalock (ATL)
Chris Chester (BAL)
Olin Kreutz (CHI)
Evan Mathis (CIN)
Kyle Cook (CIN)
Nate Livings (CIN)
Kyle Kosier (DAL)
Jason Spitz (GB)
Kasey Studdard (HOU)
Mike Brisiel (HOU)
Kyle DeVan (IND)
Mike Pollak (IND)
Rudy Niswanger (KC)
Casey Wiegmann (KC)
Richie Incognito (MIA)
Nate Garner (MIA)
Jonathan Goodwin (NO)
Kevin Boothe (NYG)
Samson Satele (OAK)
Reggie Wells (PHI)
Scott Mruczkowski (SD)
David Baas (SF)
Chris Spencer (SEA)
Leroy Harris (TEN)
Will Montgomery (WAS)

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