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T Branden Albert, Kansas City Chiefs
A year ago, the Chiefs gave Albert the franchise tag, but he and the organization couldn’t come to terms on a long-term deal. Now the Pro Bowl left tackle is about to hit the open market, at least for a day or maybe less. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the former first-rounder will be a member of the Dolphins sooner than you can say incentive clauses.
No doubt the loss of a Pro Bowl tackle will cause a little pain to Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, who will be so sorry to see Albert go away.
T Eugene Monroe, Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens have a pair of unrestricted free agents at the tackle spots in Monroe and right tackle Michael Oher, although by all indications John Harbaugh and company appear more concerned with keeping Monroe. Baltimore acquired the former first-round pick from the Jacksonville Jaguars last fall, and if general manager Ozzie Newsome doesn’t secure him soon, he doesn’t figure to be without a new team very long. However, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun, progress on Monroe returning to the Ravens is being made.
T Rodger Saffold, St. Louis Rams
While the Ravens appear to be closing in on bringing Monroe back to Baltimore, Aaron Wilson mentions a number of other prominent tackles that could be on the move. One is Saffold, who may be trading in his current duds in the Gateway City for the Silver and Black in Oakland this week. The former second-round pick played in 12 games this past season and started nine contests at three different positions for Jeff Fisher’s club.
T Jared Veldheer, Oakland Raiders
The former third-round draft choice was a starter for 43 of his first 48 games of his career dating back to 2010. But the Raiders’ sturdy left tackle missed the majority of 2013, returning for the final five games of the season. There figures to be a lot of interest by teams looking to fortify their offensive front, most notably the Arizona Cardinals. Once again, according to Aaron Wilson, Arizona could be close to a deal with the four-year pro.
T Anthony Collins, Cincinnati Bengals
An eight-game starter in 2013 (which includes the Bengals’ playoff loss to the San Diego Chargers), Collins appears primed to hit the free-agent market on Tuesday. But before you know it, he could be a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to Aaron Wilson.
In six seasons in Cincinnati, Collins never played in all 16 games in any one year. But he rated very well in Pro Football Focus’ ranking of the tackle play in the NFL this past season.
T Zach Strief, New Orleans Saints
While the Saints were lauded back in 2006 for their seventh-round selection of wide receiver Marques Colston, they also picked up the versatile Strief the same year in the same round. He’s been the team’s main starter at right tackle each of the last three seasons after seeing action at guard the majority of his first five years in the league. Will Strief take the free-agency route out of town like recent departures such as guard Carl Nicks and tackle Jermon Bushrod?
G Jon Asamoah, Kansas City Chiefs
With Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert getting plenty of attention, Asamoah has flown under the radar a bit. This past season, the underrated right guard made 12 starts, and Pro Football Focus gave him solid marks. You can bet Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles, who finished second in the NFL in total yards from scrimmage (1,980) and first in the league with 19 touchdowns, would miss the four-year blocker.
G Zane Beadles, Denver Broncos
Statistically, it was an up-and-down year for the 2012 Pro Bowler, who didn’t have star left tackle Ryan Clady next to him for the vast majority of this past season. Still, the Broncos gave up a league-low 20 sacks during the regular season in 2013, with veteran quarterback Peyton Manning sacked only once during the team’s three-game playoff run. Beadles has started 62 out of 64 regular-season games in four seasons.
C Jonathan Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers
With Cleveland Browns two-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack somewhat off the market after the team gave him the transition tag (although he can be signed to an offer sheet), Goodwin moves to the head of the class when it comes to centers available via the free-agent market. The one-time New York Jets and New Orleans Saints pivot has started every game since joining San Francisco in 2011.
C Evan Dietrich-Smith, Green Bay Packers
The Packers have their share of potential free agents, and Dietrich-Smith is high on the list. He started all 17 games for the team this season, including the playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Despite four different starting quarterbacks in 2013, only two teams in the NFL gained more total yards. Led by NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and running back Eddie Lacy, Green Bay finished seventh in the NFL in rushing offense. Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel reports that re-signing Dietrich-Smith is high on the Packers’ priority list.