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Scouting Offensive Line Talent

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With four games left in the NFL regular season, there should be ample time to evaluate the offensive linemen who are going to be free agents next year. Those of you in the viewing area of these various linemen take note and let us know what you think. Kyle Turley and Chris Terry are two of the Chiefs' offensive linemen who will be unrestricted free agents in 2008 and I don't imagine that either one will be resigned.

This list and these descriptions are from the amazing Football's Future site, which has a listing of all of the 2008 NFL free agents.

Ruben Brown, UFA, Chicago Bears

An aging veteran, Brown has a lot of experience opening holes for backs and allowing time for passers. He’s a solid guard who holds down his position quite well. If he decides to stick around, he may have a couple of good seasons left. Teams won’t line up to sign him, but there should be a handful that show interest.
Back on November 8th, the Bears put Brown on injured reserve after the left guard had shoulder surgery. Brown expects to return for a 14th season next year and not necessarily with the Bears.

Alan Faneca, UFA, Pittsburgh Steelers

Faneca seems to be the most likely of this group to leave his current team. Rumors suggest that he plans on leaving after the season and has not discussed an extension with the Steelers. Faneca is a quality guard who has started in five Pro Bowls and been selected as a first team All-Pro five times as well. He also still has some prime seasons of his career remaining. Faneca will receive the most interest at his position, could be the most coveted offensive linemen after the season, and should also be one of the most coveted players available in all of the NFL.

Flozell Adams, UFA, Dallas Cowboys

A veteran left tackle, Adams should hit the market and receive decent interest. A second-round pick in 1998, Adams has developed into one of the league’s better offensive linemen. His size, experience, and performance will lure teams into making a considerable offer for his services. The Cowboys are developing young talent behind him, and depending on how that youth pans out the rest of the season, the team could allow him to leave in favor of saving some money.
The feeling is that Adams will indeed leave the Cowboys, a decision that the team is comfortable with as they develop left tackles Doug Free and Pat McQuistan. Grizz at Blogging the Boys said a few weeks ago, "Adams, though, has played so well over the last few weeks that Dallas needed to rethink things. Based on Jerry Jones’ comments the other day that Adams is in line for a third contract, it seems as though the Cowboys have already made their decision.Yes, Adams will you drive you crazy with false starts from time to time, but when he’s motivated he remains an excellent player. He’s not Seattle’s Walter Jones or St. Louis’ Orlando Pace, when Pace is healthy, but he’s on the next level."

Jordan Gross, UFA, Carolina Panthers

With Gross’ contract voiding at season’s end, the Panthers will need to increase his salary in order to keep him around. The ownership seems to agree that he deserves a pay raise, and the team appears to want to keep him around as their starting right tackle. A former first-round selection who has played well, Gross will be looking for a considerably larger check come next season.

Ryan Lilja, UFA, Indianapolis Colts

A quality guard, Lilja is relatively young and has a Super Bowl ring to call his own. The Colts will do well to sign him to an extension, but there’s a chance that Lilja tests the market. In reality, the system that Lilja plays within is a nice fit, and he could easily stay because of it.

Max Starks, UFA, Pittsburgh Steelers

Starks is young and massive, and another Pittsburgh player that may leave the Steel City. He’s 25 and is listed at 6’7" while weighing 337 pounds. His size and age will make him a desired player on many team’s list. A top tier tackle will always garner interest and Starks may lead the free agent class at the spot because of the high level of play he has shown on the field.
Described as just above average by Behind the Steel Curtain, Starks has been riding the bench this season after losing his starting job to Willie Colon.

Floyd Womack, UFA, Seattle Seahawks

A big, experienced guard, Womack could get a decent offer from any team missing out on a top tier target like Faneca. If Womack isn’t the outright starter in Seattle this season, look for him to find work elsewhere with an expanded role guaranteed.

Jake Scott, UFA, Indianapolis Colts

Scott is the starting right guard for one of the top offensive line units in the entire NFL, and his ability to help protect Peyton Manning should equate to a nice contract number. Indianapolis has found a way to retain most of their line talent in recent seasons, and it should come as no surprise if Scott is locked into a long-term deal in the near future.

Todd Steussie, UFA, St. Louis Rams

Steussie has been a solid offensive tackle for several years, but he was placed on injured reserve earlier this season because of a foot injury. He’s approaching forty years of age, but he may still have a good season or two in him. He should receive some attention as a free agent simply because of his experience and the position he plays.
Steussie broke his foot in the preseason and was let go with an injury settlement. With the Rams offensive line just destroyed this season by injury, Steussie was resigned by the Rams on November 20th and is currently starting.

Travelle Wharton, UFA Carolina Panthers

A late third-round selection in 2004, Wharton has developed into a solid starting left tackle. He has been a key reason for the successes that the Panthers have had, and his absence last season was a key reason for the team’s struggles. Wharton’s rookie contract will expire at season’s end, and his value on the market should be fairly strong. A quality left tackle is hard to find, and team’s looking to bolster an offensive line will have to consider Wharton. Carolina will likely make every effort to work out an extension.

Anyone seen any of these guys play this year?