Published On: Fri, Mar 2nd, 2018

Top 10 free-agent offensive linemen

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NFL free agency begins March 14 – the first day of the new league year. Here is our list of the top 10 free-agent tight ends.

10. John Sullivan (C)

2017 team: Rams
2017 Salary: $900,000

John Sullivan is a success story after being selected in the sixth round of the 2008 draft by the Vikings. After spending one year in Washington, Sullivan signed a one-year contract with the Rams last spring. The risk paid off, as the center had a strong 2017, sparking Los Angeles’ rushing attack. Sullivan turns 33 in August, so a decline could be on its way, but he could land a short-term deal from a contender in need of interior line help.

9. Weston Richburg (C)

2017 team: Giants
2017 Salary: $1,085,091

NFL clubs have an interesting dilemma when looking into Weston Richburg. On one hand, Richburg is a young, talented pivot capable of anchoring a strong run game. On the other hand, he missed most of 2017 with a concussion. Teams often shy away from players with concussion history, but the former second-round pick claimed he was medically cleared before the end of last season. If healthy, Richburg could be a nice bargain in the open market.

8. Jack Mewhort (G)

2017 team: Colts
2017 Salary: $907,335

A second-round pick in 2014, Jack Mewhort is a tough, versatile offensive lineman particularly adept at pass blocking. Unfortunately, he’s battled various injuries since entering the league. Mewhort missed 17 games over the last two years, and has played in just one full season in his career. That being said, the guard will likely receive interest from teams on the open market due to his talent and ability to play multiple positions.

7. Ryan Jensen (C)

2017 team: Ravens
2017 Salary: $1,797,000

Primarily a backup during his first four seasons in Baltimore, Ryan Jensen started all 16 games at center in 2017. Jensen is not known for his pass-blocking prowess, but he’s one of the better run blockers at the position. The 2013 sixth-round pick solidified a strong Ravens rushing attack, opening lanes for Alex Collins en route to a breakout campaign. The 26-year-old is expected to test the open market and could land a favorable contract.

6. Cameron Fleming (OT)

2017 team: Patriots
2017 Salary: $1,797,000

The Patriots lost starting right tackle Marcus Cannon to season-ending ankle surgery late in 2017, but the team didn’t skip a beat when Cameron Fleming entered as his replacement. Starting New England’s final five regular-season contests and playoff run, Fleming allowed 14 total pressures in eight games, per Pro Football Focus. He was also an effective run blocker. Only 25, the towering lineman could have a bright future ahead of him.

5. Nate Solder (OT)

2017 team: Patriots
2017 Salary: $6,500,000

Nate Solder has been a starter ever since the Patriots made him their first-round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. Solder isn’t coming off his best year, as he dealt with early-season leg injuries, but he’s the most experienced left tackle on the market. The veteran turns 30 in April and has struggled with health issues in recent years, so teams may not rate him as highly as they once did. Solder was apparently considering retirement after Super Bowl LII, but recently stated he intends to continue playing.

4. Matt Paradis (C)

2017 team: Broncos
2017 Salary: $615,000

Paradis is a restricted free agent, so the Broncos will be the favorites to retain their starting center, but other teams could attempt to swoop in with a lucrative offer. The interior lineman broke out in 2016, but regressed slightly in 2017 due to a lingering hip injury. At his best, Paradis is an elite run blocker capable of pulling and taking on linebackers at the second level with ease. Expect a rebound in 2018.

3. Justin Pugh (G/OT)

2017 team: Giants
2017 Salary: $8,821,000

Pugh endured a rough 2017 campaign, missing eight games with a back injury and struggled playing out of position at right tackle. There’s still loads of potential in this former first-round pick, however. When slotted inside at guard, Pugh is one of the best in the business. He’s capable of taking on speed and power rushers while anchoring his team’s rushing attack. Pugh has been the Giants‘ best offensive lineman since entering the league in 2013.

2. Josh Sitton (OG)

2017 team: Bears
2017 Salary: $7,400,000

The Bears recently declined Sitton‘s $8-million team option for 2018, making him a free agent for the second time in his career. At 31 years old, the veteran remains one of the league’s top guards, often dominating as a run blocker. He also allowed just 18 total pressures during his tenure in Chicago, according to Pro Football Focus. Sitton should still have a few great years remaining in the tank, so expect him to garner interest from multiple teams.

1. Andrew Norwell (OG)

2017 team: Panthers
2017 Salary: $2,746,000

The star of this position group, Andrew Norwell has everything teams look for in a free-agent target. He’s young (26), experienced (spending the last four years as Carolina‘s starting left guard) and extremely talented. The Panthers already locked up right guard Trai Turner to a long-term contract last year, so they may not want to invest even more money at the position. Expect other teams to pounce. Norwell is an elite pass-blocking interior lineman and should continue to improve into his prime.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)
(Contract figures courtesy: Over The Cap)

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