Whole Nine Yards: Free Agent Preview Week 2

By Zac Bellman

This week in my ongoing look at the free agent market we’ll take a look at tight ends, offensive linemen, and defensive linemen.

Tight Ends:

Blue Chips:  Tony Gonzalez, Brandon Myers, Dustin Keller, Kellen Winslow – One of the deepest positions this year is at tight end, with a good mix of up and coming athletes and vets looking for one more shot. Gonzalez is hinting that he will come back for one more ride with the Falcons after saying after the NFC Championship game that he was contemplating retirement. After never catching more than 16 passes in any prior season, Myers exploded onto the scene with 79 receptions for 806 yards. At 27 he is still entering his prime and will be getting a big raise. Keller will likely be moving on from a Jets team looking to save cap space and rebuild, and Winslow will be looking for a fresh start after brief stints with the Seahawks and Patriots last season.

Red Chips:  Ben Watson, Chris Cooley, Martellus Bennett – Two quality veterans who have been producing for a while and are worth taking a shot on are Watson and Cooley. Cooley is coming off an injury and Watson may have lost a step but both are good for 40-50 catches a season when healthy. Bennett’s stock has never been higher as he is coming off a career high 55 receptions and is just entering his prime at 26. He still hasn’t been around long enough to warrant an automatic start, but he can add a threat to just about any offense.

Offensive Linemen:

Blue Chips:  Jake Long, Jermon Bushrod, Phil Lordholt, Max Starks – Long tore his bicep muscle in Week 12, but still has four Pro Bowls on his short five year resume. He has shown he is a premier pass protector in the league and will be looking to receive the money of a former number one overall pick that has lived up to the hype. Bushrod and Starks both come from pass heavy offenses in the Saints and Steelers respectively, and Lordholt is more of a run blocker coming from the Vikings’ system.

Red Chips:  Gosder Cherilus, Andrew Smith, Bryant McKinnie – Cherilus has played in 75 games over five years with the Lions. He has good enough size to play both tackle positions. Smith finally played his first full season for the Bengals at left tackle, but had an off the field incident involving possession of a loaded firearm at a Georgia airport. That could affect the amount of money teams are willing to shell out. McKinnie may look to move on from Baltimore after getting a Super Bowl ring.

Defensive Linemen:

Blue Chips:  Kyle Vanden Bosch, Dwight Freeney, Osi Umenyiora – Three veterans that still have a bit of gas left in the tank are Vanden Bosch, Freeney, and Umenyiora. Freeney played a little outside linebacker when the Colts switched to the 3-4, but he is better suited as a 4-3 end with his speed. Umenyiora is looking for a big deal to help finance his upcoming marriage to former Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes.

Red Chips:  Glenn Dorsey, Ma’ake Kemoeatu, Isaac Sogoaga – Dorsey is coming off a season in which he only played in four games, making it unlikely he gets resigned by Kansas City. Kemoeatu and Sopoaga both anchored great defenses that reached the Super Bowl this year in the Ravens and 49ers respectively, but they may not find the market to their liking for defensive tackles over 30.