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Before U Panic: FA of 2007

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Top 2007 Free Agent Offensive Linemen By: Greg Davis Willie Anderson UFA Cincinnati Bengals Over the past 10 seasons, Anderson has been one of the few sure things on the Cincinnati offensive line. He receives a small blurb, but there’s ...

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Old 08-09-2006, 03:27 PM   #1
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Before U Panic: FA of 2007

Top 2007 Free Agent Offensive Linemen
By: Greg Davis

Willie Anderson UFA Cincinnati Bengals
Over the past 10 seasons, Anderson has been one of the few sure things on the Cincinnati offensive line. He receives a small blurb, but there’s little probability that he leaves the only team he’s ever known. He finally has a highly talented quarterback to protect, and the team is moving in a winning direction. Expect the Bengals to come to terms on an extension with their most veteran Bengal.

Brian Waters UFA Kansas City Chiefs
Waters aids one of the best lines in the NFL. The Chiefs offensive line is dominant much of the time, as evidenced by the numbers that Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson have put up in recent seasons. Waters will receive interest from a host of teams, but the Chiefs need Waters as other linemen are aging. Waters may be a major beneficiary of his fellow linemen, but it is difficult to think that teams won’t give a long look at Waters when the market opens because of his athletic ability at the guard spot. He’s helped open holes for maybe the best rushing attack in the NFL. Still, if Kansas City decides to infuse the roster with more youth on the offensive side of the ball, Waters will command a fair amount of money from a team looking to bolster their line.

Shane Olivea RFA San Diego Chargers
Another offensive guard that teams would love to lock up, but chances are that Olivea stays in San Diego to continue blocking for Ladainian Tomlinson. The Chargers will make every effort to keep Olivea off the market, and his RFA status works in favor of the team. His name deserves a mention, but don’t have high hopes of your team plucking him from the grasp of his current employer.

Max Starks RFA Pittsburgh Steelers
Starks is a starting tackle for a Super Bowl champion. That’s enough in itself to get some teams a little excited about the prospects of acquiring him. The fact that Starks is young, talented, and massive in stature—listed at 6’8�, 337 lbs.—just adds to the excitement pile. Another lineman that shouldn’t be going anywhere as the Steelers will not let Starks go without a fight. The best bet is that Starks will decide he wants to stay in Pittsburgh and sign an extension. If he hits the market, there will be a team or two willing to pay a big amount to entice the tackle to relocate.

Leonard Davis UFA Arizona Cardinals
Davis is a massive tackle that the Cardinals can’t afford to lose to free agency. The Arizona offensive line is already suspect, and losing Davis would be a huge step in the wrong direction, but the team may have to let him go and find a replacement if they aren’t prepared to offer decent money. Davis has shown the ability to simply be a wall of protection for his quarterback and while teams might not line up for the chance to sign him, anyone looking for a tackle will have him high on the list. The Cardinals are more than likely going to push to re-sign him before he hits the market

Top 2007 Free Agent LB

Lance Briggs, UFA, Chicago Bears
Briggs benefits from having Brian Urlacher as a teammate, but that’s no reason to doubt that Briggs is a really good linebacker in his own right. He may be the most sought after linebacker in this free agent class, and the Bears will have difficulty in retaining all of the defensive talent they have in the next few seasons if they wish to spend more money on offensive help and re-sign other current players. The Bears could slap the franchise tag on Briggs to keep him around, but if they don’t, expect him to be leaving the Windy City and taking up residence for a new team that will try and feature him on defense. Teams needing a tough linebacker to plug holes and make tackles will put Briggs high on their list. Given the Bears history in this type of matter, it’s likely that Briggs will find a new place to punish offenses.

Na'il Diggs, UFA, Carolina Panthers
Diggs has been a steady linebacker for the Green Bay Packers since his second season in the league. Injuries forced him to miss seven games last season and he now has just a single season to prove to the Panthers that he deserves a larger contract. Diggs, while steady, isn’t necessity for Carolina, so expect to see him hit the market in the hopes that someone appreciates what he does on the field, maybe even over-appreciates what he does on the field. Staying healthy will be the first step towards a successful contract year, and if he can perform like he did in Green Bay, a handful of teams should be interested in bringing Diggs into the fold. Anyone looking for a veteran linebacker to make some tackles and hold his own will show an interest.

Cato June, UFA, Indianapolis Colts
Recent legal trouble could hurt his stock, but June was a first time starter in the Pro Bowl this past season. He’s relatively young and a tackling machine, so it’s likely that the Colts will do what they can to retain his talents. There’s good chance that June hits the market, though, to see what other organizations have to offer him financially; the Colts inability to reach the Super Bowl may also factor into a decision to leave. June’s not an overpowering player, so a team interested in him will be looking at utilizing his speed as a top priority, in the same way that the Colts have done. June will be the most sought after linebacker on the market, and perhaps the most sought after defensive player.

Top 2007 Free Agent DB

Nate Clements, UFA, Buffalo Bills
Clements should be the top target of teams looking for help in the secondary. He’s young, highly regarded, and very talented. Buffalo would like nothing more than to have him signed to an extension as quickly as possible, but his talent—he does have two Pro Bowl selections—may lead him to test the market. Without an extension, the Bills must decide if they are willing to franchise tag Clements once again to guarantee his presence on the gridiron for one more season. Since Clements has not been adversely affected by NFL officiating changes, most NFL teams will pursue the cornerback if he hits the market.

Brian Dawkins, UFA, Philadelphia Eagles
Dawkins makes the list now, but wherever he’s playing during the 2007 season is where he’ll also turn 34. While he hasn’t shown signs of fading just yet, anyone making an offer will consider his age before making an official contract submission. Being a veteran defensive back is enough to get him signed, but with his credentials, he’ll see more than a few strong offers. Dawkins is one player I see leaving the City of Brotherly Love for a destination intent on winning right away.

Ike Taylor, UFA, Pittsburgh Steelers
Some think that Taylor looks better than he really is because of the blitzing system in which he has the opportunity to play, but whether or not that’s entirely true, Taylor will command fair attention in free agency. Taylor is young and plays aggressively. Teams looking for a corner to apply blitz pressure can surely use Taylor, but they can’t expect him to shutdown wide receivers or they’ll overpay. Taylor’s best suited for the schemes run in Pittsburgh, so while he may see the market, it should come as no surprise to see him re-sign with his current team.

Just to name a few. Some will sign with thier teams others will be out there. So before we dump millions into a player think of the money you will need next year to make another splash in the FA market like we did this year with drew. This is the reason why IMO that we have signed so man Vets to one year deals this year. More cap room. Keep your picks to wheel and deal in the draft. If they do this, next years off season has a chance to be more fun than this one.

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Old 08-09-2006, 03:49 PM   #2
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Dawkins actually got an extension.

Would love to see Max Starks in Black and Gold... though he will be expensive.
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Old 08-09-2006, 07:01 PM   #3
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Max Starks was the only name that jumped out at me as a must have. I also would like to see him in our black and gold. Got to dish out the loot if you want your guy nowadays. It's all about the money. If we make a nice enough bid, I can see Pitt not matching. They do a wonderful job drafting and developing OL.
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Old 08-10-2006, 11:45 PM   #4
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Starks isn't going anywhere. Bill knows how important Tackles are to a OL.
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