As you surely know by now, we are mere days away from the official start of the new NFL league year. It begins March 15, and teams will spend the next several months trying to upgrade their rosters so that they can potentially take down the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs next season.
Part of that process, of course, is free agency. With that in mind, we're going to be taking a look at the players likely available to be signed this offseason. We're going position by position, beginning this week on the offensive side of the ball. We've already covered the running backs and , and will continue below with the interior offensive linemen. Instead of ranking the linemen, though, we're going to break them down by position, and give you an overview of what types of players are available.
A lot of times, teams with young quarterbacks will go into the free agent market looking for a veteran center with whom to pair him. That player can help handle the calls and protections at the line of scrimmage, allowing the quarterback to focus on every other aspect of his incredibly challenging job. Think of the Bills bringing in Mitch Morse or the Chargers signing Corey Linsley, for example.
There are some quality starters available among this group, though not necessarily any top-flight players. In particular, Brendel, Pocic and McGovern ranked eighth, ninth and 11th in Pro Football Focus' pass-blocking grades last season, while Pocic ranked fifth, Bradbury ranked ninth, McGovern ranked 10th, and Bozeman ranked 13th in run-blocking grades. Mustipher, a restricted free agent, fared OK in the run game but has badly struggled as a pass-protector throughout his career. Any of them could be a passable option for teams looking to solidify the pivot spot on the offensive line.
There are a bunch of quality starters available here. Powers was one of our, and at 27 years old he should still have a bunch of good football ahead of him. Stinnie was in line to start for the Bucs last year until getting injured in preseason. Stafford has been a starter seemingly forever, and though he's not what he used to be, he can be a solid run-blocker on the interior. If you want to take a shot on a younger player and hope he gets better during the course of his second contract, McGovern and Edwards could make a lot of sense. Risner took a bit of a step backward last season, but so did the entire Broncos offense. Maybe a change of scenery could help. And then Skura, Garcia, Pugh and Ferentz have a wealth of experience and can be counted on as rotational players of fill-in starters.
|Greg Van Roten||Bills||UFA||32.7%||33|
Seumalo was a stalwart on the league's best offensive line, and the Eagles might just have too many other players to pay to be able to keep him around after his contract voids. He'd be a fantastic addition for anyone who signs him. Other veteran stalwarts here include Turner, Hernandez, Brunskill and Davis, though none is as consistent or as high quality as Seumalo. Other players like Duvernay-Tardif, Van Roten, Schweitzer, Aboushi and Ford can be rotational contributors, while Brown looked great as a run-blocker and only so-so in pass protection for the Lions last season. Scharping was pressed into action toward the tail end of Cincinnati's playoff run and was just OK. He and the rest of the Bengals' banged-up line held up well against the Bills, but were overwhelmed by the Chiefs.