NFL Free Agency: 10 Possible Landing Spots for Chad Greenway

Carlos SandovalAnalyst IIIJune 8, 2011

NFL Free Agency: 10 Possible Landing Spots for Chad Greenway

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    MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 26:  Chad Greenway #52 of the Minnesota Vikings plays against the Detroit Lions at Mall of America Field on September 26, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Chad Greenway played like an animal last season for the Minnesota Vikings. The bro accumulated 144 tackles last season, the highest single-season total he's had in his four-year career. 

    Greenway anchored the Vikings' defense, which ranked ninth in rushing yards allowed, due to the team's lead linebacker. 

    Of course (and unfortunately), Greenway is a free agent. The Minnesota Vikings would love to keep him, but after having a breakout season, and with only four years of abuse on his body, Greenway could be asking for some dolla' dolla' bills, y'all.

    (How much he'll get, though, and how much a team is willing to give could negate that statement, though.)

    Either way, there are plenty of teams who could use a stud linebacker. Here are ten of them.

    Click away.  

10. San Diego Chargers

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    SAN DIEGO - SEPTEMBER 4:  Linebacker Antwan Applewhite #90 of the San Diego Chargers stands on the field in the game with the San Francisco 49ers on September 4, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.   The Chrgers won 26-7.  (Photo by Stephen
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Last season, the San Diego Chargers finished tops in passing yards allowed, and had one of the better defenses in the league.

    What killed them constantly, though, was the run game. 

    You can blame their mediocre season despite stellar statistics on that fact alone; teams could easily use the pound-and-ground method (even if they didn't have a pound-and-ground running back) and run straight through the Chargers' soft core of linebackers. 

    Chad Greenway would bring an entire dynamic that could push the Chargers towards playoff contention. San Diego already has a solid secondary and possesses the defensive linemen to put pressure and fill holes. Greenway could come in and clean the mess up, whenever needed. 

9. Denver Broncos

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    DENVER, CO - JANUARY 2:  Running back Lance Ball #35 of the Denver Broncos breaks through a hole of San Diego defenders during the second quarter at INVESCO Field at Mile High on January 2, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    The Denver Broncos were the worst defensive team in the league last season, and finished dead last in rushing yards allowed. 

    Compile that on top of their problems at running back, and you have a team that's solely relying on its passing game to pull out victories.

    Chad Greenway won't exactly turn the Broncos' defense into "elite" by himself, but with his help, he could begin to install a new defensive philosophy. 

    With Greenway, the Broncos could become an OK team, defensively. 

    Stopping the run was a huge problem last season for these Broncos and Greenway has a knack for moving quickly to the ball-carrier without over-shooting. The Broncos could use his intelligence and athleticism to not be the most embarrassing team in the AFC West. 

8. Cleveland Browns

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    NEW YORK - APRIL 28:  Peyton Hillis #40 of the Cleveland Browns participates in a photo shoot for the cover of EA Sports Madden NFL 12 on April 28, 2011 in Time Square, New York City  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for EA)
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    The Cleveland Browns ranked well below average in every statistical defensive category, save for points allowed. 

    Their running game was abused all season long, too. They ranked 27th in the league in rushing yards allowed, although playing in the AFC North with run-heavy teams like the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers won't help that number at all. 

    Regardless, the Browns need help stopping the run. 

    Chad Greenway is your man, Cleveland.

    Adding Greenway could begin the commitment to a consistent philosophy that has gotten so many teams success over the past decade or so. 

    The Browns would be committing to defense and the ground game (because, let's be real, Peyton Hillis is a beast). If that's not championship-level football, I don't know what is. 

7. Tennessee Titans

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    NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 05:  Courtland Finnegan #31 of the Tennessee Titans tackles Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half at LP Field on December 5, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    The Tennessee Titans are kind of currently in re-building mode right now. They're set to cut Vince Young once the lockout ends and they've already cut ties with long-time head coach Jeff Fisher.

    To boot, the Titans also drafted Jake Locker in the first round of the NFL Draft, signifying a new era in Tennessee.

    Thus, Chad Greenway makes a hell of a lot of sense.

    The team didn't play well on the defensive end of the ball, but has some aggressive players to have potential to be a great unit. Chad Greenway would anchor the defense, easily, allowing for frequent three-and-outs and long, drawn-out drives headed by Chris Johnson on the other end.

    If the Titans are smart, they make this move.  

6. Cincinnati Bengals

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    CINCINNATI - DECEMBER 26: Marvin Lewis the Head Coach of the Cincinnati Bengals watches play during the NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals 34-20.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    In the AFC North, you have to keep up with the Joneses.

    Er, I mean, the Steelers and Ravens. 

    This team was talented enough to make the playoffs in nearly any other division, save for the NFC North. They did make the postseason last year, but what was the difference?

    Easy. Defense.

    The Bengals didn't have it, and adding Chad Greenway would put them back on the map, Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco or not. Greenway will bolster a rushing defense that nearly was bottom in the league, giving the secondary a better shot at shutting down opponents' air game. 

5. Oakland Raiders

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    ALAMEDA, CA - JANUARY 18:  New Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson pauses as he speaks to reporters during a press conference on January 18, 2011 in Alameda, California. Hue Jackson was introduced as the new coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing the fired
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    I know what you're thinking: "The Oakland Raiders had an awesome defensive unit last season! Check the stats!"

    No, you check the stats. 

    The Raiders did have quite the defensive outing in 2010, but they lacked -- as many other AFC West teams do -- the ability to play the run; their core of linebackers is mediocre at best, terrible at worst. 

    Chad Greenway is necessary now more than ever for Oakland, thanks to the loss of some key free agents in their secondary. The Raiders don't have the shutdown corners needed to have a decent defense, and to be honest, the defense became their bread and butter last season. 

4. Indianapolis Colts

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 08:  Dan Muir #90 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates with Dwight Freeney #93, Pat Angerer #51 and Fili Moala #95 after he sacked quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets in the first quarter during their 2011 AFC wild
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The Indianapolis Colts' run defense needs help.

    Some things never change, do they?

    In the case of the Colts, no, nothing changes. Because last season was the epitome of what this Colts' franchise has done since drafting Peyton Manning; a complete and utter reliance on Manning's best-that-ever-played ability, almost ignoring the defensive end of the ball.

    The Colts have never had a true, game-stopping linebacker since Manning's arrival in Indy. Dwight Freeney has arguably been the Colts' best player, and that's not something to necessarily be proud of.

    If you add Chad Greenway, this team becomes well-rounded and dangerous, once more. For the first time in the past decade and a half, the Colts will have a defensive leader who can anchor the defense with his play alone.

    This is where you need to be desperate, Indianapolis.

3. Detroit Lions

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    TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 19:  Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh #90 of the Detroit Lions warms up prior to the start of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    If you were looking for a team that could use another stud defensive player to hit "elite" status, this would be it. 

    In case you didn't know, the Detroit Lions' rookie Ndamukong Suh is a freaking animal and is already one of the best defensive lineman in the NFL. 

    And in case you didn't know again, Nick Fairley, another stud defensive lineman, was selected in the first round of this year's draft.

    If you add an elite linebacker in Chad Greenway to the mix, what do you get?

    Top-notch, dangerous, stingy defense for the next ten years. If Detroit can pull this off, I'm not so sure there's a team that can ever make the Lions look like a poor defensive team within the next decade.  

2. Washington Redskins

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    GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 02:  Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth #92 of the Washington Redskins stands on the sidelines during preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    We've been down this road with the Washington Redskins before, haven't we?

    This is different than Albert Haynesworth, though. Because while Haynesworth was an unstoppable force, there were indications that he had character issues and problems with his physical activity level.

    Chad Greenway isn't that way at all. 

    Greenway could help the Redskins become a contender in the NFC East. The division is still always up for grabs, Michael Vick, Tony Romo or not. If you let the Redksins' secondary do its work, Chad Greenway could provide a balanced defense for the 'Skins.

    Also, Dan Snyder loves to spend money.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02:  Quarterback Josh Freeman #5  of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers points out coverage before snapping the ball during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a young, talented team that everyone wants to see win. They have a good core of offensive players while having a solid defensive unit.

    However, that defensive unit is incomplete, displayed in their ranking as the 28th best rushing defense in the NFL. 

    Chad Greenway, as I've said over and over, can anchor defenses. He allows for the secondary to have its chance because Greenway can push a defense to stop the run game, something so many NFL teams covet and use as their form of whatever life they may have. 

    Greenway is an awesome player, and sticking him in Tampa could lead to a huge future for both Greenway and the Buccaneers.