2021 NFL Free Agency Outlook: Linemen

-John Turner

It starts up front. In a time where the league changes rules to ensure the success and marketability of the quarterbacks, teams must be able to protect the one they’ve got, and get after the opponents’. Without a line we’ve seen everything from sub mediocre play at the quarterback position to the inability to sustain a running game or even get one started for that matter. On the other side of the ball, if you can’t put pressure on the opposing team’s QB you’re likely to be picked apart. If you can’t stop the run… well you’re in trouble. The top 5 teams against the run all made the playoffs this season and the bottom 10 all found themselves watching the playoffs from home.

The Washington Football Team for example this season were able to sneak into the playoffs with a 7-9 record and a division title. All season long they had sub mediocre play from the quarterback position but it was both of their lines that kept them in enough games to get them into the dance. They were able to put pressure on quarterbacks all season long and on offense they were tied for 5th in the league for pocket time. There’s also a heavyweight matchup happening between two dinosaurs in Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Both teams have lines on both sides of the ball that are as productive as any in the league. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see both teams in the second round of the playoffs.

We start off with the book ends. I’m sure San Francisco would welcome Trent Williams back with open arms, especially since he ended the season as the highest rated tackle in football, but it won’t come cheap. Even at 33 he’s a 15+ million dollar a year man. Taylor Moton might be one of those casualties of the cap lowering for the Panthers and he might find himself heading into the open market as the highest rated right tackle in free agency. I could see the Dolphins going after him if they decide to stick with left handed Tua Tagovailoa.

TeamFree AgentPositionAge2021 GradePosition RankingFA Type
ARIKelvin BeachumLT3269.047UFA
ATLJohn WetzelT30UFA
ATLMatt GonoT25RFA
BUFTy NsekheRT35UFA
BUFDaryl WilliamsRT2978.323UFA
CARRussell OkungLT3273.034UFA
CARTaylor MotonRT2781.214UFA
CHIGermain IfediRT27UFA
CHIJason SpriggsT27UFA
CHILachavious SimmonsT24ERFA
CLEKendall LammRT29UFA
CLEMichael DunnT27ERFA
DALCameron ErvingT29UFA
DALGreg SenatT26ERFA
DALMitch HyattT24ERFA
DENDemar DotsonRT3570.841UFA
DENCalvin AndersonT25ERFA
DETOday AboushiT30UFA
DETMatt NelsonT25ERFA
GBYosh NijmanT25ERFA
HOUBrent QvaleRT30UFA
HOURoderick JohnsonT25UFA
INDLe’Raven ClarkRT28UFA
INDChaz GreenT29UFA
JACCam RobinsonLT2561.863UFA
JACK.C. McDermottT25RFA
KCMike RemmersRT3270.143UFA
KCAndrew WylieT27RFA
LACSam TeviT2652.977UFA
LACTyree St. LouisT24ERFA
LVSam YoungLT3459.070UFA
LVDenzelle GoodT30UFA
MIAJulie’n DavenportLT26UFA
MIAAdam PankeyT27UFA
MINDakota DozierLT30UFA
NOJames HurstRT2970.143UFA
NYGCameron FlemingT2858.471UFA
NYJConor McDermottT28UFA
PHIJason PetersLT3967.049UFA
PITAlejandro VillanuevaLT3274.630UFA
PITMatt FeilerRT2965.035UFA
PITZach BannerT27UFA
PITJerald HawkinsT27RFA
SEACedric OgbuehiT29UFA
SFTrent WilliamsLT3391.91UFA
SFDaniel BrunskillT27ERFA
TBJosh WellsRT30UFA
TBJoe HaegT28UFA
TENMarshall NewhouseRT32UFA
TENTy SambrailoT2965.951UFA
WASDavid SharpeT25UFA

Shifting inside to guard we see a couple standouts that would be immediate starters if signed. Joe Thuney would make a lot of sense for the Cincinnati Bengals. He’d be heading back home and likely made one of if not the highest paid at his position. Brandon Scherff is also another guy that’ll be able to make it rain this offseason. Ranked 4th at his position with the only knock being, beyond his sophmore season he’s yet to play a full year missing a total of 18 games over the last 4 years.

TeamFree AgentPositionAge2021 GradePosition RankingFA Type
ARIJ.R. SweezyG3252.571UFA
ATLJustin McCrayG29UFA
BALD.J. FlukerG30UFA
BUFJon FelicianoG2964.639UFA
BUFBrian WintersG3054.667UFA
BUFIke BoettgerG2666.527RFA
CARJohn MillerG2861.152UFA
CARMichael SchofieldG30UFA
CARChris ReedG2963.043UFA
CARTrenton ScottG27RFA
CHIRashaad CowardG2646.278UFA
CHIAlex BarsG2555.664ERFA
CINAlex RedmondG2661.549UFA
CLEColby GossettG26ERFA
DENElijah WilkinsonG26UFA
DENAustin SchlottmannG25ERFA
GBLane TaylorG31UFA
KCKelechi OsemeleG32UFA
LACForrest LampG2749.675UFA
LACDan FeeneyG27UFA
LACRyan GroyG30UFA
LACCole TonerG27RFA
LARAustin BlytheG29UFA
MINRashod HillG29UFA
NEJoe ThuneyG2874.210UFA
NEJermaine EluemunorG26UFA
NYGKyle MurphyG23ERFA
NYJPat ElfleinG2748.276UFA
PHIRoss PierschbacherG26RFA
PHIIosua OpetaG25ERFA
PITDanny IsidoraG27UFA
SEAMike IupatiG3465.134UFA
SEAEthan PocicG26UFA
SEAJordan SimmonsG2750.074ERFA
SFTom ComptonG32UFA
TBAaron StinnieG27ERFA
TENJamil DouglasG29RFA
WASBrandon ScherffG2986.34UFA

There are 5 of the top 16 ranked centers who’s contracts are expiring. With David Bakhtiari suffering a knee injury at the end of the season the Packers may not think twice to ink Corey Linsley to a new deal, keeping as much of their line in tact as possible. He is after all the highest rated center in the game. Ben Garland like Trent Williams is 33 and hitting free agency. Do the 49ers want to retain guys at that age or do they comb the desert for youth?

TeamFree AgentPositionAge2021 GradePosition RankingFA Type
ATLAlex MackC3565.720UFA
BALMatt SkuraC2850.335UFA
BALTrystan Colon-CastilloC23ERFA
CARTyler LarsenC30UFA
CHISam MustipherC2558.929ERFA
CINKeaton SutherlandC24ERFA
DALJoe LooneyC3150.734UFA
GBCorey LinsleyC3089.91UFA
JACTyler ShatleyC3067.316UFA
KCAustin ReiterC2970.911UFA
KCDaniel KilgoreC33UFA
LACMike PounceyC32UFA
LARColeman SheltonC26ERFA
MIATed KarrasC2865.221UFA
MINBrett JonesC30UFA
NEDavid AndrewsC2967.715UFA
NEJames FerentzC32UFA
NYJJosh AndrewsC30RFA
NYJJimmy MurrayC26RFA
PHILuke JurigaC24ERFA
PITJ.C. HassenauerC2757.730ERFA
SEAKyle FullerC27RFA
SFBen GarlandC3371.110UFA
SFTony BergstromC35UFA
SFHroniss GrasuC30UFA
TBA.Q. ShipleyC35UFA

Flipping over to the other side of the ball are the Interior Defenders. Thes are your 4-3 Defensive Tackles, 3/4 Defensive Ends, and Nose Tackles mostly. as I was putting these lists together I’m almost certain I’ll have a couple players missing from this one in particular as they’re probably in the Edge Rusher list and verse visa, but I won’t cry over spilled milk so I hope you won’t either. Mario Edwards is coming from a fantastic front of the Chicago Bears. As a rotational reserve he accumulated 4 sacks this season. Some team will likely offer him starter’s money but I don’t think I would if I’m holding the checkbook… He’s been on 4 teams in the last 4 years. Leonard Williams is another player I’m not quite sure about. Pre draft he was compared to Richard Seymour but didn’t quite live up to that. He was traded from the Jets to the Giants in 2019 and notch only a half a sack. Fast forward to this season and he has a career high with 11.5 in a contract year… How convenient.

TeamFree AgentPositionAge2021 GradePosition RankingFA Type
ARIAngelo BlacksonDE2844.1117UFA
ARICorey PetersDT3362.166UFA
ARIDomata PekoDT36UFA
ARIJosh MauroDT30UFA
ATLJacob Tuioti-MarinerDT25ERFA
BALDerek WolfeDE3170.340UFA
BALJustin EllisDT3050.5110UFA
BUFJustin ZimmerDT2868.647RFA
CHIBrent UrbanDE3079.517UFA
CHIMario EdwardsDE2788.66UFA
CHIRoy Robertson-HarrisDT2867.056UFA
CHIJohn JenkinsDT32UFA
CHIDaniel McCullersDT29UFA
CINMargus HuntDE34UFA
CINChristian CovingtonDT2751.8105UFA
CINMike DanielsDT3252.2102UFA
CINXavier WilliamsDT2945.4115UFA
CLELarry OgunjobiDT2753.098UFA
CLEVincent TaylorDT27UFA
DALEli AnkouDT27UFA
DALAntwaun WoodsDT2858.383RFA
DENShelby HarrisDT3088.37UFA
DENSylvester WilliamsDT32UFA
DENJoel HeathDT28UFA
DENDeShawn WilliamsDT2876.321ERFA
DENJonathan HarrisDT25ERFA
DETKevin StrongDT25RFA
GBTyler LancasterDE26RFA
GBAnthony RushDT24ERFA
GBWillington PrevlionDT24ERFA
HOUCarlos WatkinsDE2746.5114UFA
HOUP.J. HallDT2656.789RFA
HOUKingsley OparaDT26RFA
HOUAuzoyah AlufohaiDT24ERFA
INDTaylor StallworthDT2644.8116RFA
JACAbry JonesDT29UFA
JACDaniel RossDT28RFA
JACDaniel EkualeDT2752.799ERFA
KCMike PennelDT3068.348UFA
LACDamion SquareDT3264.563UFA
LACIsaac RochellDT26RFA
LVKendal VickersDE2647.5112ERFA
LVJohnathan HankinsDT2961.668UFA
MIADavon GodchauxDT26UFA
MIABenito JonesDT23ERFA
MINJaleel JohnsonDT2735.3123UFA
NELawrence GuyDT3168.250UFA
NEAdam ButlerDT27UFA
NECarl DavisDT29UFA
NOSheldon RankinsDT2757.885UFA
NYGLeonard WilliamsDE2779.814UFA
NYGAustin JohnsonDT27UFA
NYGDalvin TomlinsonDT2775.224UFA
NYJTrevon ColeyDT27UFA
PHIHassan RidgewayDT26UFA
PHIT.Y. McGillDT28UFA
PITChris WormleyDT27UFA
SEADamon HarrisonDT32UFA
SEAPoona FordDT2579.814RFA
SEABryan MoneDT2558.482ERFA
SFD.J. JonesDT2661.370UFA
SFKevin GivensDT2459.880ERFA
TBNdamukong SuhDT3461.668UFA
TBSteve McLendonDT3565.560UFA
TBRakeem Nunez-RochesDT2847.3113UFA
TENDaQuan JonesDT2967.753UFA
TENJack CrawfordDT32UFA
TENTeair TartDT24ERFA

Next up we take a look at Edge Rushers, Linebackers, Corners, and Safeties.

See you in a few… It’s A Football World, we’re all just passing through.

Photo credit: Panthers