Offensive tackles are a little bit like quarterbacks. Good ones hardly ever hit the open market (which is why the NFL world has gone batshit crazy over Peyton Manning). So the list of free agent offensive tackles out there isn't exactly inspiring. One of the top free agents -- Jared Gaither -- apparently lacked the "explosion" to make it on the Chiefs, at least according to former OC Bill Muir.
Looking around the other potential offensive tackle options and I'm realizing the NFL draft may be the best way to go.
Willie Colon, former Pittsburgh Steeler, is a free agent and has played four seasons as a right tackle. But injury concerns have limited him to just one start in the last two years. Looking for a bargain? This could be it. Colon is 28 years old and, when healthy, a pretty decent offensive tackle. You just have to take the risk that A.) he'll get hurt again and B.) he won't return to his pre-injury form in 2009.
Another potential option is Levi Brown of the Arizona Cardinals. Pro Football Talk reports Brown could be cut with a $6 million roster bonus looming. He's had plenty of issues after entering the league as a top 10 pick five years ago. But when you're a top pick there's always the idea that
Anthony Collins from the Cincinnati Bengals and one of his biggest flaws is that he's a former Jayhawk. Oh, and he's just a decent right tackle. He started out his career in 2008 as a left tackle and switched to the right side. You gotta be concerned that he hasn't won the job and been the full-time starter in that time span. This also speaks to the depth, or lack thereof, on the free agent market for tackles -- Collins is one of the better options. And he's not a great option. He's only 26 years old, though.
Ryan Harris, previously with the Denver Broncos, seems like a good, young option. But he's also been hurt a lot and his ceiling seems to be merely good. Plus, the Chiefs have had several options to sign him on the free agent market in the last couple of years and haven't taken it.
The Chiefs can find better options in the draft. GM Scott Pioli doesn't have a long history of drafting offensive tackles high but this might be the year to do it. In my mind, the first round pick is coming down to offensive tackle and defensive tackle. Those are the two positions that I think are starting to make the most sense.
We should also keep in mind that there will be some surprise cuts coming. Good offensive tackles usually aren't available but there will be more options.