2010 NFL Free Agency Rankings: Offensive Tackles
1. Jamal Brown-New Orleans: RFA, Brown is quickly becoming one of the best offensive tackles in the game. Even though he is already a restricted free agent, the Saints could even opt to Franchise him to ensure some team won’t steal him away for just a 1st and a 3rd round pick.
2. Jared Gaither- Baltimore: RFA, Another Franchise tackle in the making, Gaither and Oher give the Ravens two great young bookend tackles. There is no way Gaither isn’t in Baltimore this coming season.
3. Willie Colon-Pittsburgh: RFA, Colon isn’t a Franchise tackle, but he’s about to be paid as one, as he is the Steelers best offensive lineman. Colon has the size and skills to be a great tackle but he isn’t quite there yet.
4. Marcus McNeil- San Diego: RFA, McNeil is a very good left tackle, but struggled this past season some. That being said he’s still young and the Chargers should expect a bounce back season.
5. Chad Clifton- Green Bay: UFA, Being the top unrestricted free agent should get Clifton some interesting offers. He has somewhat of a negative injury history which will limit his offers, but he will still be pursued on the open market.
6. Tyson Clabo (Falcons) and Charlie Johnson (Colts): RFA, Clabo and Johnson are grouped together because they are solid, unspectacular tackles but will be retained because they are restricted free agents.
7. Alex Barron (Rams), Donald Penn and Jeremy Youngblood (Bucaneers), Jermon Bushrod (Saints), Jeromey Clary (Chargers), Ryan O’Callaghan (Chiefs), Dennis Roland (Bengals): RFA, I grouped these 7 tackles together because they are all restricted free agents, but it wouldn’t surprise me if at least 3 of them were playing on a different team next season. They are all young and talented and have shown an ability to start, but aren’t elite starters.
8. Mark Tauscher (Packers), Mike Gandy (Cardinals), Tony Pashos (49ers), Tra Thomas (Jaguars): UFA, All four of these tackles are borderline starters at this point, but should all find jobs given their unrestricted free agent status. Tauscher played just half a season last year for the Packers, but was their best offensive lineman for stretches. He was coming off a major knee injury, so questions should remain on whether or not he can last a whole season at that level. Gandy and Pashos took big steps backward last year, and lost their starting jobs. They are still in their early 30’s with limited injury history, so they may be able to still find a starting job, they just shouldn’t be signed for big money long term. Thomas in his prime was an elite tackle, but the game has started to pass him by.
The offensive tackle position could see a few reinforcements from players being cut, but for the most part what you see is what you will get. Most of the talent comes from restricted free agents and I can’t imagine many of those will be on the move. What is interesting is the Saints, Chargers and Tampa Bay all have 2 RFA’s starting tackles. Even without a salary cap, I could see a couple of these guys on the move if those teams don’t feel confident in investing in both tackles long term. I could see the Saints move Bushrod for a couple picks, given their tackle depth. Another interesting name to watch is Adam Terry RFA Baltimore, with their starting tackles set the Ravens could move Terry for a late round draft pick. Terry isn’t a great starter, but can back up either position and would be better than a number of starting tackles in the league.