Best Offensive Guards on the Market for Titans
The Titans don't have a ton of cap space this offseason (at least not if they re-sign the players they need to), but with Leroy Harris in free agency and Steve Hutchinson potentially retiring after another knee injury, they need to pick up a guard in free agency.
Luckily for the Titans, there is a pretty strong group of free-agent guards this season. Even better, a lot of them look likely to test the free agent waters, so landing a good one is certainly a possibility—with a little budget shaving.
Here are the 10 best offensive guards on the market this offseason.
10. Eben Britton, Jacksonville
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Eben Britton has not been great during his time in Jacksonville, but he's not a throwaway—especially not for the Titans.
Britton was taken early in the second round of the 2009 draft to play right tackle. He was drafted so high because he looked like he had a lot of potential coming out of college; he just never tapped into it with the Jaguars.
The Titans, however, have a much better offensive line coaching staff than the Jaguars, and Britton is only 25 years old, so he has a lot of play left in him.
The Titans could pick up Britton for a very small amount, and could potentially mold him into a capable starter at either guard position.
He'd be a bit of a project, but he'd be one that could pay off in the long run.
9. Chad Rinehart, Buffalo
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Chad Rinehart was a much better player in 2011 (and the small part of 2012 in which he actually played) than his position on this list indicates.
However, since he's just coming off of an ankle injury, he's an unknown commodity.
Rinehart played left guard for an injured Kraig Urbik. He has also played some center, so he has the kind of versatility that the Titans will like.
If he comes back at 100-percent, then he'd be able to immediately start at right guard for the Titans.
8. Brandon Moore, New York Jets
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Brandon Moore is a fantastic guard and would be much higher on this list if it weren't for his age.
The Titans already have a pretty old offensive line. Dave Stewart will be 31 before the season starts, Michael Roos will be the same age a couple of months into the season, and Steve Hutchinson (if he doesn't retire) will be close to turning 36.
Brandon Moore will be 33 by the start of the 2013 season, and even though he's coming off of a Pro Bowl-caliber season, he could drop off at any time.
Since the Titans already have some older guys playing in the offensive line, I don't think they'll look to sign yet another older player.
7. Tyronne Green, San Diego
Tyronne Green hasn't been a good player for long, but he had a strong 2012 season, and since he's young, he may just now be tapping into his potential.
On the other hand, he could be a backup player who had one good year at the end of a contract, so whoever ends up signing him picks up a little risk along with him.
I have a feeling it's a little of both, but with the Titans' great offensive line staff, they'd get more good than bad from Green, and he'd be pretty cheap, too.
Green is just 26 years old, so the Titans could sign him to be the right guard for years to come.
6. Ramon Foster, Pittsburgh
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The Steelers' offensive line struggled this season, but Ramon Foster was one of the brighter spots.
He wasn't great as a run-blocker, but he was more than solid as a pass-protector and looked more consistent as the season wore on.
With David DeCastro back from injury, Foster knows his starting spot won't be there in Pittsburgh, so he's likely to look elsewhere, and I see no reason why he wouldn't look back to his home state of Tennessee.
The former Vol would be a great fit for the Titans, who, at least under Mike Munchak, seem to prefer refined pass-blockers over mauler-style run-blockers.
He'd also be a very affordable option.
5. Donald Thomas, New England
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Donald Thomas would be perhaps the best value for the Titans in terms of bang for their buck.
Thomas didn't get a ton of starting time and spent most of the season behind Dan Connolly and Logan Mankins, but when he did play, he looked like a starting-quality guard.
Since he only started seven games in 2012, he won't be able to command a paycheck as big as many of the other guards in free agency who are full-time starters.
He isn't elite, but since the Titans have little money to spend (unless they make some big cuts), a player who provides a good value is always someone to examine closely.
4. Matt Slauson, New York Jets
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Matt Slauson is an underrated guard, but he'd be a great fit for the Titans.
Slauson usurped the starting position from Vladimir Ducasse, who was a much higher draft pick, and has never looked back, starting in every game for the last three years.
He hasn't been incredibly refined, but he's a powerful run-blocker who the Titans could coach into a very good guard.
Furthermore, he spent some time playing center as well. Even though he's a much better guard than he is a center, the fact that he has experience at both positions can be very helpful when injuries start to mount.
Since he's underrated as a player, he'd also be a cheap signing.
3. Kevin Boothe, New York Giants
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Like Slauson, Kevin Boothe is a versatile player who can play center or guard, but he's a much better guard.
Boothe is also the first player on this list I'd call "elite." Boothe has been a trooper for the Giants over the years, playing wherever he's needed and doing a great job. He's even spent some time at tackle.
He's a powerful, punishing run-blocker, but as Eli Manning's two Super Bowl trophies prove, Booth also knows how to protect a quarterback.
Now, Boothe is a little older than most of the players on this list, as he'll be 30 by the start of the 2013 season, but that isn't prohibitively old, like Brandon Moore, and Boothe is a proven veteran.
He'd be a great addition to the line, but he wouldn't come very cheap, and his age could become a concern very soon.
2. Louis Vasquez, San Diego
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Louis Vasquez is a fantastic guard, and if it weren't for the next player on the list, he'd be looking at a huge payday.
He's been nothing but excellent since the Chargers drafted him in 2009, even earning AFC West Rookie of the Year honors.
Vasquez is one of the top guards in the league, and he'll be, without a doubt, the second-most-sought-after interior lineman on the market this offseason.
Excelling as both a run-blocker and a pass-protector, the 25-year-old has plenty of football left in him, and could be signed on a long-term deal without worry.
He'd cost a pretty penny, but he'd immediately make one of the Titans' weakest positions into one of their strongest.
1. Andy Levitre, Buffalo
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Andy Levitre is one of the top guards in the NFL, so he's easily the top player at the position in free agency.
As such, he'll be looking for a huge deal similar to the one Carl Nicks received in 2012.
Now, Nicks has restructured his enormous contract, so Levitre won't be able to command quite that much, but the bar is still very high.
Even though he would cost the Titans a lot, there's an argument that he'd be worth it. Outside of Nicks, Jahri Evans, Logan Mankins and maybe Mike Iupati, Levitre is the best guard in the NFL.
If the Titans landed a top-five player at their weakest position on the offensive line and managed to re-sign Fernando Velasco at center, they'd suddenly feature one of the NFL's premier lines, with All-Pros at three of the five spots.