NFL Offseason 2012 Part VI: Offensive Linemen

Free Agent Tracker 2012

Part I: Overview

Part II: Quarterbacks

Part III: Running Backs

Part IV: Wide Receivers

Part V: Tight Ends

The offensive line is the most overlooked, yet important part of an offense. Obviously the quarterbacks and skill positions get all the publicity, but make no mistake about it, without a good offensive line, your team is going nowhere.

A lot of offensive linemen in this free agency class are under-the-radar type players. This comes with being an offensive lineman because usually the ones getting the most attention during the season, aren’t doing their jobs. So if you do not know who these players are, that means they had a very good season.

Lets see who will be on the market come March 13th and where they could fit in.

Carl Nicks

Carl Nicks

Carl Nicks, Guard:

After the Saints dished out a 7-year $57.5 Million to teammate Jahri Evans, Nicks will be looking for the same type of contract. It would be unheard of if the Saints give Nicks this type of deal and have so much money wrapped up at two guard positions.

If Nicks does not give a “hometown” discount to the Saints, I see him moving else where and getting paid on the open market. Nicks said he would love to stay in New Orleans (who wouldn’t) yet I feel the Saints will use their money elsewhere and try to stabilize their defense and receiving corps.

 

Demetrius Bell, Offensive Tackle:

Bell is a very underrated left tackle and his presence was missed last season for the Bills once he went down with a season ending injury. Once Bell was hurt, the Bills struggled to protect Fitzpatrick blind side.

He is an extremely important piece of the Bills pass happy offense and I look for the Bills to resign him as he will be a top priority for the team this offseason. Bell is a solid left tackle that excels at run blocking and pass blocking. He may not be a household name yet, but I see him getting paid like one.

Chris Meyers, Center:

Chris Meyers Texans

Chris Meyers

The Texans have finally found an athletic center to solidify their offensive line and give head coach Gary Kubiak an anchor for his zone blocking scheme. Meyers fits perfectly in this scheme and it has shown over the last two seasons as the Texans were one of the top rushing teams in the NFL for the past two seasons.

Meyers will most likely stay in Houston as I do not see the Texans letting him go, especially since the offensive line’s chemistry is at an all-time high.

Jared Gaither, Offensive Tackle:

Gaither had a very interesting season and because of his solid play has earned recognition for this offseason. Gaither was picked up in Week 13 for the San Diego Chargers, he replaced injury-prone left tackle Marcus McNeill. Gaither picked up five quick starts at the end of the season and excelled in McNeill’s place. He played great and really took the heat off Phillip Rivers and may have ended McNeill’s tenure as the left tackle for the Chargers. The rumors flying around San Diego about McNeill’s release can only mean they are considering resigning Gaither.

Evan Mathis, Guard:

Mathis had an excellent year and seems to have found his fit in Philadelphia. Under offensive line coach Howard Mudd, Mathis seems to have found a system that best fits his skills. Along with finding his scheme, Mathis played exceptionally well and it would be a huge shock to me if he is not resigned by the team. Mathis opened up huge running lanes for LeSean McCoy and gave him Vick time in the pocket or opened up a lane for Vick to run. I fully expect the Eagles to bring back Mathis, especially since their quarterback needs all the protection he can get.

Ben Grubbs, Guard:

The Ravens will have a busy offseason with trying to keep running back Ray Rice, so there is room for Grubbs to move on elsewhere. Grubbs is an excellent run blocker and has been consistent with that all season as the Ravens had one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL.

Grubbs is an above-average guard and should be highly touted if he is not signed by the Ravens. Grubbs is very athletic and thrives in power run plays that call for him to pull. If he is not resigned by the Ravens, I can see him moving on to a team in need of a great run blocking guard, the New York Jets.

Scott Wells Packers

Scott Wells

Scott Wells, Center

The Packers have tried to get “bigger” and “stronger” on the offensive line, despite that, Wells has been consistently very good for the Packers this past season.

The Packers did go 15-1 and had one of the best offensive seasons ever seen, don’t you think that has something to do with their offensive line?

Regardless, Wells could see himself removed from the Packers because of other free agents the Packers have. Jermichael Finley and Donald Driver are just two players that could be free agents and I see the Packers trying to sign those pieces before Wells. Wells will not likely get the lucrative deal he is looking for, but the Packers are his best fit and his best chance of winning.

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Stay Tuned for next article: NFL Offseason 2012 Part VII: Defensive Lineman

 

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