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Tag:Vernon Carey
Posted on: March 6, 2012 9:28 am
Edited on: March 6, 2012 12:40 pm
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: Offensive line rankings

Is Nicks, our top free-agent offensive lineman, done hoisting Brees? (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Leading up to the start of free agency on March 13, we're compiling lists of the best 2012 NFL free agents by position. These are the offensive linemen.

It's not the sexiest position in the NFL -- just ask Andre "C-Cup" Smith -- and there's a feeling in the NFL these days, whether it's right or wrong, that offensive line is becoming a fungible position. It's OK to laugh at that idea, because a few years ago, wide receiver was the same way. It'll shift back and forth in the next few years. Right now, you'll pay a nice price to land a wideout and offensive linemen are relatively cheap.

Some of the guys on the list below won't be cheap however. There's a pretty nice group of offensive linemen hitting the market this year, and teams might be wise to avoid trying to race in the free-agent market and focus their efforts on improving protection.

1. Carl Nicks

Breakdown: Nicks is probably the best guard in the league, and it doesn't help that his teammate, Jahri Evans, signed a $56.7 million deal for the next seven years. Especially since Nicks wants more money. With Drew Brees franchised, the Saints are essentially forced to let Nicks and top wideout Marques Colston both hit the market and good luck bringing Nicks back. He's the only guy who can hurt the guard-related stock for Stanford's David DeCastro.
Potential Landing Spots: Saints, Cowboys, Chargers, 49ers

2. Chris Myers

Breakdown: Honestly if Meyers left it would be a) a huge mistake for the Texans and b) a big surprise. Everyone talks about Mario Williams as the guy they need to re-sign, but Meyers is substantially more valuable to what they do (especially with the defensive personnel vs. the offensive personnel). Houston's offensive line is by far and away the most underrated in the NFL and while Eric Winston is the anchor, Meyers is the leader. I'd like to think that Houston won't let him walk, simply because the AFC South window is too big not to keep making a run at another division title.
Potential Landing Spots: Texans, Packers, Ravens

3. Jared Gaither

Breakdown: Gaither was a supplemental draft pick with the Ravens in 2007, washed out, went to the Chiefs and then looked finished in the NFL at an early age. But he was a big factor in revitalizing the Chargers run late in the season; after Marcus McNeil went down, Philip Rivers was offered no protection until Gaither came into town. The Chargers want to keep him, but this is a very shallow class for free-agent tackles, and Gaither could pull in good money on the market. He's got gobs of talent and is still young, but keeping him motivated is a concern.
Potential Landing Spots: Lions, Chargers, Cardinals, Vikings, Rams

4. Ben Grubbs

Breakdown: Grubbs, the Ravens 2007 first-round pick, made the first Pro Bowl of his career in 2011. He's a free agent only because Baltimore's had to use their franchise tag on Ray Rice and couldn't commit to the guard. The Ravens still want to re-sign Grubbs, and that could happen between now and March 13 when free agency begins. Working in the Ravens favor is the deep nature of this crop of free-agent guards.
Potential Landing Spots: Ravens, Bengals, Giants, Bears, 49ers

4. Scott Wells

Breakdown: Wells and the Packers are in the middle of a headed non-discussion about a new contract. Wells believes he deserves big money, and the Packers believe he deserves the type of money that a shorter, 31-year-old center would get on an open market. But Wells isn't just any center; he's proven his worth in working with different quarterbacks in Green Bay and helping to develop Aaron Rodgers. Wells made his first Pro Bowl in 2011 and has missed just one game since 2006. He won't want to leave Green Bay but he also won't take less than he's worth. It wouldn't be surprising to see him move closer to Tennessee (he's from there and played for the Vols in college) either.
Potential Landing Spots: Packers, Texans, Broncos

5. Demetrius Bell

Breakdown: Bell's been playing football for less than 10 years, but he's clearly quite good at it. Or at least good enough to keep being named the Bills left tackle. The seventh-round pick out of Northwestern State could come back to Buffalo, but if there are teams in need of offensive line help, there's a good chance he'll bail. The offensive line market is odd this year, in that it appears to be guard and center heavy. The tackles aren't exactly stacked and that could result in a nice deal for a guy like Bell.
Potential Landing Spots: Lions, Bills, Chargers, Cardinals, Vikings, Rams

6. Evan Mathis

Breakdown: Mathis hasn't started 16 games since coming into the NFL. But he's coming off easily the best season of his career and has said he'll take a discount to remain with the Eagles under the tutelage of Howard Mudd. Mathis said he'd work for "$20 and a pizza," but the reality is he got paid the league minimum last year, and at 30, he'd be insane not to maximize his money-making ability.
Potential Landing Spots: Eagles, Saints, Seahawks, 49ers

8. Geoff Schwartz

Breakdown: Schwartz played all over the line for Carolina in 2010 before missing all of 2011 with injury. It'll be interesting to see Ron Rivera's coaching staff handles the offensive line: Schwartz and Jeff Otah are holdovers from a previous regime and might not necessarily stick. But Schwartz, at 25, would be a nice, versatile and discounted signing for someone who needs help and depth across the line.
Potential Landing Spots: Giants, Bills, Panthers, Seahawks

9. Dan Koppen

Breakdown: You know what's weird? Everyone's willing to toss out the "system" word as it relates to anything with the Patriots quarterback but don't bother discussing how their offensive line, which features a pretty cohesive unit, helps Tom Brady's success. Whatever, it's fine. That's the "Patriot Way." But Koppen isn't going to get the franchise tag like fellow lineman Logan Mankins and he stands to make more money for a team that needs a center.
Potential Landing Spots: Packers, Ravens

10. Jake Scott

Breakdown: The good news is this: Scott played for an offensive-line monster in Mike Munchak. Munchak consistently creates cohesive offensive units that over-produce relative to their value. But the bad news is that Scott's 30 (not too old) and if you bring him into another organization, he's not going to have that same Titans cohesiveness. Is that overplayed? Yeah, maybe. But Scott will have bigger questions when it comes to Chris Johnson's production in 2011, whether that's fair or not.
Potential Landing Spots: Titans, Saints, Eagles, Seahawks

HONORABLE MENTION

Jeff Backus, Nick Hardwick, Vernon Carey, Anthony Collins

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Posted on: December 14, 2010 2:26 pm
 

Tuesday's key injury news and transactions

Posted by Andy Benoit

We’ll pass along some injury news from a few teams that are essentially out of the playoff picture:

**Titans center Eugene Amano has been placed on IR due to ongoing neck stingers. Amano, who signed a long-term contract in the offseason and had been up and down after moving from guard to center, will be replaced by Fernando Velasco, a 25-year-old former practice squad player.

**The Dolphins put right tackle Vernon Carey on IR. Carey had been battling a knee. This move opened up a roster spot for wide receiver Kevin Curtis. It is believed that untested Lydon Murtha will get a crack at replacing Carey.

**The Bills will likely be without receiver Lee Evans the rest of the way. The seventh-year pro is expected to miss action for the first time in his career with an ankle injury. Evans is facing at least two weeks.

**And, in one final tidbit that involves a team still very much IN the playoff race, the Eagles will replace injured defensive end Brandon Graham with veteran Derrick Burgess. Burgess was a phenomenal backside run-defender and pass-rusher during his first stint with the Eagles, though he recently flamed out as a Patriot.

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Posted on: August 2, 2010 12:33 pm
 

More players connected to StarCaps

The Pioneer Press has a very interesting story that suggests Pat and Kevin Williams weren’t the first players to complain about unknown substances in the StarCaps diuretic.

In 2006 and '07, a rash of NFL players tested positive for bumetanide, which troubled Dr. John Lombardo (the NFL’s drug-testing administrator), who had learned that StarCaps, the diuretic they were using, was tainted with the potent drug.

(Lombardo) was so troubled that he exonerated at least eight players, including a pair of Pro Bowlers, because they told Lombardo they unknowingly ingested the banned substance — clemency that clashed with a steroids policy in which players are responsible for what is in their bodies.

Adolpho Birch was unmoved by the players' excuses. The vice president of the NFL's labor policy and its anti-doping enforcer was so troubled by Lombardo's actions that he ordered his subordinate to stop pardoning StarCaps users who failed tests and to start referring them for discipline.

By training camp 2008, StarCaps ceased to be a get-out-of-jail card, exposing to punishment another cluster of users who tested positive for bumetanide, including Vikings defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams.


The exonerated players never had steroid accusations hurled at them, and their names did not come up during the Williams trial. Three of those players are still in the league: 49ers CB Nate Clements, Jets OT Damien Woody and Dolphins OT Vernon Carey. Another five are out of football: former Chiefs/Seahawks OT Damion McIntosh, the late Patriots DE Marquis Hill, Bills/Patriots WR Jonathan Smith, Bills FB Daimon Shelton and Giants/Patriots FB Patrick Pass.

According to the Lombardo and Birch depositions, the eight exonerated players linked their failed tests to StarCaps. The controversial weight-loss pill claimed garlic and papaya as active ingredients, but actually was spiked with bumetanide, according to the recall StarCaps' manufacturer, Balanced Health Products, initiated in December 2008. The company has since filed for bankruptcy.
Bumetanide is a diuretic typically prescribed to treat congestive heart failure and renal disease. The NFL and NFLPA classify it as a potential masking agent for steroids.


The consumption of bumetanide was unintentional, the eight players claimed, and they found a sympathetic arbiter in Lombardo.
Ostensibly, the NFL isn’t thrilled that this information has become public.

--Andy Benoit

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