Friday, March 9, 2012

Free agency preview: guard


Top 10 UFA OGs:
1 - Carl Nicks (signed by Tampa Bay 3/14)
2 – Ben Grubbs (signed by New Orleans 3/15)
3 – Steve Hutchinson (cut by Vikings 3/10, signed by Titans 3/19)
      Evan Mathis (Re-signed by Eagles 3/19)
4 - Adam Snyder (signed by Arizona 3/15)
5 - Chilo Rachal (Signed by Bears 4/18)
5a - Robert Gallery (cut by Seahawks 3/16, signed by Patriots 3/21)
6 - Chris Kemoeatu
7 - Mike Brisiel (Signed by Raiders 3/17)
8 - Andre Gurode
9 - Geoff Hangartner
10 – Jacob Bell (Signed by Bengals 4/7 but retired from NFL 5/8)

Sleepers: Rachal is only 25, is one of the best run-blockers in the league and had a standout season for the 49ers in 2010 before Jim Harbaugh benched him last year for committing too many penalties. That second-string status could make him a bargain pickup.

Wild card: Still Jason Smith, what the Rams do with him affects the entire offensive line depth chart

Tag you're it: no guards tagged this year.

Out of the running: Ryan Diem (announced retirement 3/23), Jeremy Zuttah (re-signed by Buccaneers), Vince Manuwai (signed by Falcons), Kris Dielman (retired)

Voting present: Mike Pollak (signed by Panthers 3/22), Travelle Wharton (cut by Panthers 3/13, signed by Bengals 3/17), Tony Wragge (signed by Ravens 6/15), Mackenzy Bernadeau (signed by Cowboys 3/15), Mike McGlynn (signed by Colts 3/19), Leonard Davis, Nate Livings (signed by Cowboys 3/17), Derrick Dockery, Vernon Carey, Kyle Kosier (cut by Cowboys 3/19), Trai Essex (re-signed by Steelers 4/13), Anthony Herrera (cut by Vikings 3/10), Tony Moll, Scott Mruczkowski, Jake Scott, Manuel Ramirez (re-signed by Broncos 3/19), Tony Ugoh, Duke Robinson (cut by Titans 4/24), Rex Hadnot (cut by Big Dead 3/17, signed by Chargers 5/1), John Greco, Russ Hochstein

The doctor will see you now: Montrae Holland (torn biceps), Geoff Schwartz (hip surgery, missed all of 2011), Kasey Studdard (ankle surgery, missed all of 2011), Rob Turner (broken leg, out all of 2011, signed by Rams 3/30), Bobbie Williams (broken ankle), Pork Chop Womack (shoulder injury, out all of 2011),Eric Steinbach (cut by Browns 3/14, out all of 2011 after back surgery)

Gawd no: Sean Locklear (signed by Giants 4/12), though moving him inside was probably smart; Deuce Lutui, repeatedly out of shape (signed by Seattle 4/7)

RamView’s moves: Jacob Bell is one of the few of the free agent Rams Jeff Fisher is actually showing interest in re-signing. Of course, those two have history together, and the Titans line, believe it or not, dropped way off in the middle after Bell left. I like Bell for depth but little else. I'd rather go after a mauling run-blocker like Chilo Rachal. The sleeper here, if I may go into tinfoil-hat mode, is Brian Mattison, a late season pickup who I thought played pretty damn well. I think he's a player to watch throughout OTAs and training camp. I'd also be interested in Andre Gurode, who's 33 and probably should have been listed by Pro Football Weekly at center, where he's a 5-time Pro Bowler. I'm not convinced Tony Wragge, who PFW also lists here at guard, has any business at center here next year. But that's the next post.

In the end, a lot hinges on what the heck you do with Jason Smith. If he starts at tackle and Harvey Dahl stays at guard and Rachal wouldn't cost a lot more than Bell, I'd totally sign Rachal. Otherwise, you almost have to keep Bell, because you're running out of bodies pretty quickly. My last move, which will probably induce forehead slaps across Rams Nation, is to bring John Greco back. He'll be cheap, and maybe, just maybe, Paul Boudreau can tap potential there where Steve Loney failed.

RamView's line: RT-Dahl, RG-Mattison (big gamble), C-TBD, LG-Bell, LT-Saffold
Depth: Smith, drafted tackle, Greco, drafted G/C

Shoot the moon: Another draft scenario: character-related concerns knock Ohio State tackle Michael Adams down the board. Freed of the Four Pillars, the Rams decide he's too good a value to pass up and shuffle Smith accordingly.

Prediction: Dahl's staying inside, they're re-signing Bell, and Mattison's good enough to push him if everything works out. I'm pretty sure the Rams have the better plan here.


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