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Row12.com - A Community of Sports Writers and Fans!                                               ***Attention Writers***
 
2014 NFL Free Agency Preview: Offensive Line
By Matt Horkman

Offensive Tackles

Branden Albert, Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City all but prepared for Albert’s departure when they took Eric Fisher with the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft. Last off-season, rumors suggested Miami attempted to trade for Albert. The trade obviously didn’t become a reality, but the Dolphins remain desperate for offensive line help. They may re-visit Albert as an option this month. 

Possible Destinations: Cardinals, Buccaneers, Dolphins, Falcons, & Raiders

Anthony Collins, Cincinnati Bengals
Despite being a backup, Cincinnati wants Collins back. The Bengals are probably better offensively if they kick Andrew Whitworth inside to guard and start Collins at tackle. Cincinnati’s plans for Collins remain speculation. However, everything points toward the backup tackle receiving immense interest.

Possible Destinations: Bengals, Dolphins, Falcons, Giants, & Ravens

Breno Giacomini, Seattle Seahawks
Because he’s no more than average starting right tackle, the reigning Super Bowl champions aren’t going to get into a bidding war to retain Giacomini. Nevertheless, he has incredible size (6-7 & 318 pounds) and experience, so someone desperate for a right tackle may float big money at him. 

Possible Destinations: Dolphins, Ravens, Seahawks, Texans, & Titans

Austin Howard, N.Y. Jets
The Jets have already opened up contract negotiations with Howard, who has started every game in each of the last two years. If he makes it to free agency, he and Giacomini will have a similar market.

Possible Destinations: Dolphins, Jets, Ravens, Texans, & Titans

Eugene Monroe, Baltimore Ravens
A midseason acquisition by the Ravens, Monroe will be just 27 when the 2014 season begins. He has indicated he won’t give the Ravens any discount, so Baltimore may have to outbid another team to retain him. Miami may make a run at him if they're unable to sign Albert.

Possible Destinations: Cardinals, Dolphins, Falcons, Giants, & Ravens

Michael Oher, Baltimore Ravens
Based on name recognition, Oher is one of free agency’s most well known players. He‘s a bit overrated, though. He was an absolute failure at left tackle for the Ravens, which is why they’re prioritizing Monroe over him. He’ll receive interest as a starting right tackle, but his lack of versatility could limit his options.

Possible Destinations: Dolphins, Jets, Seahawks, Texans, & Titans

Roger Saffold, St. Louis Rams
Versatility among offensive lineman is valuable, so the Rams -- who could kick Saffold inside to guard -- and a few other teams are likely to show interest, despite his well-established inconsistencies.

Possible Destinations: Dolphins, Giants, Rams, Ravens, & Washington

Zach Strief, New Orleans Saints
Recent history suggests the Saints will let Strief walk during free agency. In 2012, they saw Carl Nicks sign with Tampa Bay, and last off-season Jermon Bushrod signed with Chicago. The market is strong for right tackles, but there are also plenty of teams in need of them. My guess is he walks.

Possible Destinations: Dolphins, Ravens, Saints, Texans, & Titans

Jared Veldheer, Oakland Raiders
Bringing back Veldheer should be a priority for Oakland. The Raiders did have the money to designate him as their franchise player, but they decided not to use the tag. Veldheer will draw a considerable amount of interest should he hit the market.

Possible Destinations: Cardinals, Chargers, Falcons, Panthers, & Raiders

Centers/Guards

Jon Asamoah, Kansas City Chiefs
After a strong 2012 campaign, Asamoah came into 2013 with high expectations. An injury sidelined him midway through the season and he lost his starting job to Geoff Schwartz. Both Asamoah and Schwartz are free agents, and while Asamoah is younger, Kansas City will probably choose Schwartz over him.  Asamoah’s upside remains high, so he’ll have plenty of options.
Zane Beadles
Possible Destinations: Chiefs, Dolphins, Falcons, Giants, & Raiders

Zane Beadles, Denver Broncos
A former Pro Bowler, Beadles will likely be the most sought after guard on the market. His age (27) and starting experience (62 starts) makes him a rare commodity in a league where most offensive lineman take time to develop. Denver seems willing to allow their free agents to test the market, so there’s a legitimate chance Beadles plays elsewhere this year.

Possible Destinations: Broncos, Falcons, Giants, & Raiders

Brian De La Puente, New Orleans Saints
One of three quality centers available in free agency, De La Puente seems likely to leave New Orleans. Signing tight end Jimmy Graham to a long-term contract is clearly New Orleans’ priority. In addition, they need to continue to improve the defense. While I’m sure the Saints would love to have De La Puente back, they may lack the resources to make it happen.

Possible Destinations: Colts, Patriots, Ravens, & Saints

Evan Dietrich-Smith, Green Bay Packers
Two years ago, Green Bay let center Scott Wells walk in free agency. They tried to replace him with veteran Jeff Saturday, but the veteran center didn’t have anything left in the tank. Saturday lost his job to Dietrich-Smith, who has played well over the last year in a half. History could repeat itself, as the Packers may let Dietrich-Smith walk in free agency. Last year, they began to incorporate gap blocking into their offense to fit Eddie Lacy’s bruising style. As a result, Green Bay may want to get bigger and stronger inside.

Possible Destinations: Colts, Giants, Packers, & Raiders

Willie Colon, N.Y. Jets
Re-signing Colon doesn’t seem to be a priority for the Jets, which means the free-agent guard will likely hit the open market. Last off-season, he signed a one-year contract with New York, and played well in all 16 starts. The Jets could be making a mistake in letting him walk.

Possible Destinations: Chargers, Dolphins, Falcons, Giants, & Washington

Jonathan Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers
Dating back to his tenure in New Orleans, Goodwin has started every game since 2009. He turned 35 last December, though, so his starting days are winding down. Returning to San Francisco is an option, but the 49ers may want to get younger at the position. Retirement is possible if he doesn’t land a starting job with a contender.

Possible Destinations: 49ers, Colts, Patriots, Ravens, & Saints

Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns
Free agency‘s best starting center, Mack is one of the most durable and reliable offensive lineman in football. He has started in all 80 of his career games, not missing even one because of injury. Given Cleveland’s abundance of cap room, using the transition tag on him was a no brainier. There’s still an outside chance Mack will sign an offer sheet with another team, but the Browns will have the opportunity (and money) to match.

Possible Destinations: Bengals, Browns, Colts, & Ravens

Chad Rinehart, San Diego Chargers
Rinehart is a capable player, but he’s yet to start and finish an entire season. This could affect his market. A return to San Diego is possible, but only at the right price. 

Possible Destinations: Chargers, Dolphins, Falcons, Jaguars, & Seahawks

Geoff Schwartz, Kansas City Chiefs
An injury to Asamoah allowed Schwartz to start for Kansas City in the second half of last season. He played so well that Asamoah was never able to regain his starting job. Because of Schwartz’s strong play, Kansas City is likely to prioritize re-signing him over Asamoah.

Possible Destinations: Chiefs, Dolphins, Falcons, Giants, & Washington

Travelle Wharton, Carolina Panthers
Returning to Carolina is unlikely for Wharton, who is coming off a good season. The Panthers actually re-signed him right before the start of the 2013 regular-season, as the injury bug bit their offensive line. Wharton ended up starting Carolina’s final 13 games, which includes their postseason encounter with San Francisco. The Panthers have younger alternatives, though, opening the door for someone else to sign him.

Possible Destinations: Chargers, Colts, Giants, Jets, & Seahawks

Best of the Rest
Tyson Clabo, Miami Dolphins
Shawn Lauvao, Cleveland Browns
Brian Waters, Dallas Cowboys
Ryan Wendell, New England Patriots
Eric Winston, Arizona Cardinals

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