It speaks well of a player if he can maintain his production while going from a perennial Super Bowl contender in New England to the, well, “black hole” of Oakland.
It also speaks well of a player if he can be a Pro Bowler as both a 3-4 defensive end and a 4-3 defensive tackle.
Richard Seymour is one of the best defensive players of his generation and a likely Hall of Famer. But while he shows no signs of slowing down, he’ll also turn 32 next season.
Here’s a countdown of 10 teams that might be willing to overlook the ramifications of Seymour’s advancing age in the future, focusing instead on what he’ll provide in the present.
Coming off a huge leap forward in 2010, the Bucs have a lot going for them. One thing they don’t have, however, is a respectable run defense.
Tampa ranked 29th in yards per carry allowed in 2010. Contrast that to a pass defense that ranked 12th in the league in yards per attempt, and you have an obvious hole for which Seymour is an obvious solution.
Acquiring Seymour would also give the Bucs a boost in a division with two run-heavy teams in Atlanta and Carolina.
You can never rule these guys out when it comes to accumulating big names.
Jay Ratliff is a star at nose tackle, but his fellow starters along the line—Igor Olshansky and Stephen Bowen—are pedestrian (Bowen, along with Marcus Spears, are also free agents). Ratliff needs help, and Seymour would slot in at end and provide it.
For all the excuses about Tony Romo’s injury, it was the Cowboys defense, which ranked 28th in yards per play allowed, that really sunk their season.
Adding Seymour and a healthy Romo might get the Cowboys back to where they thought they were before 2010—in the Super Bowl discussion.
The Dolphins defensive line was good last year—they ranked fourth against the run by FootballOutsiders’ rankings—but it won’t be the same next year.
Tony McDaniel and Paul Soliai, the Dolphins' two best defensive linemen, are impending free agents. Depending on what happens with those two, adding Seymour would maintain the line as a unit of strength.
The Bears defense is very good, but it's an elite player away from being dominant.
Seymour could either bookend Julius Peppers or play defensive tackle, most likely both. His ability to rush the passer would improve the pass rush of a team that ranked 17th in sacks in 2010, and would open up opportunities for Julius Peppers on the other side.
It might seem like a heavy investment on the defensive side of the ball, but the Bears' elite defensive players aren’t getting any younger and their window as an elite defense is closing.
Call it the "Delayed Vinatieri": A guy who made his name on the other side of the rivalry jumps to the Colts side as a difference-maker.
Bill Polian notoriously loathes to spend on big-name free agents, but 2010 made it clear that the non-Peyton Manning talent level on the Colts isn’t up to snuff.
That’s particularly true on defense, in which the Colts ranked 20th in yards allowed per play, and more true than that against the run, in which they Colts finished 27th.
After being dominated on the ground in the second half against the Jets, it’s clear that that status quo won’t do, regardless of how good Manning is. And imagine a pass rush of a defensive line that includes Freeney, Mathis and Seymour?
Jonathan Babineaux is excellent at one defensive tackle spot, but Peria Jerry has not returned on the investment of the first round pick the Falcons spent on him in 2009.
The Falcons ranked 26th in yards per carry allowed in 2010, which suggests that run defense is a pronounced weakness on a team with few of them. However, the advanced stats of FootballOutsiders.com paint a more positive portrait, ranking the Falcons 13th against the run.
Seymour’s versatility would also enable him to play end, opposite John Abraham. The Falcons’ current left end, Kroy Biermann, recorded just three sacks in 2010. Abraham and Biermann are both free agents after 2011.
Remi Ayodele is a free agent and while the Saints might just want to re-sign him, adding Seymour would obviously be an upgrade.
Sedrick Ellis came into his own last year, and a tackle combination of Ellis and Seymour could be one of the league’s best. Seymour could also play some end, where the mediocre Alex Brown currently holds down the spot opposite Will Smith.
For a team with championship aspirations that ranked 18th in both yards allowed per rushing attempt and sacks, standing pat would be disappointing.
No, he doesn’t play special teams. Yes, the Chargers defense was excellent last year, ranking sixth in yards allowed per run and second in sacks.
But Seymour would keep the defense as a unit of strength in 2011. That, coupled with adequacy on special teams and the continued excellence of the Philip Rivers-led offense, could finally push the Chargers over the top.
The mediocre Jacques Cesaire, who started for the Chargers at left defensive end in 2010, will be a free agent.
Here’s a guy who can help the Jets get to the quarterback without Rex Ryan’s risky blitzes.
Having advanced to the second round of the playoffs, the Jets will continue to operate in win-now mode. Woody Johnson loves big names, particularly those who used to play for division rivals.
Considering the Raiders gave up the 17th pick in the 2011 draft for two years of his services, re-signing him is the face-saving move.
Seymour has enjoyed his time in Oakland and seems enthusiastic about the franchise’s turnaround that began this year.
“It’s a great place to play,” he told reporters. “The history of being here, the mystique of putting that silver and black on and representing the Raiders, it’s been a lifelong dream for me and, hopefully, it continues.”
But Seymour is far from the Raiders only free agent. Depending on what happens to the collective bargaining agreement, Raider free agents can include Zach Miller, Robert Gallery, Michael Bush, Stanford Routt and now, Nnamdi Asomugha.