NFL Free Agents: Defensive Tackles

A year ago, the Bears spent their first two draft picks to upgrade the talent at defensive tackle. While it's unlikely the team will go after a DT in free agency, here's a list of the players scheduled to hit the market at that position, along with comments for the unrestricted players.

Tommie Harris started 16 games as a rookie and could contend for a Pro Bowl spot in '05. Ian Scott became the most improved player on the roster from the beginning of the season to the end. He's the projected starter heading into next season with more expected out of Tank Johnson. Alfonso Boone is a reliable run stuffer and Israel Idonije is valuable as both a backup tackle and end. The Vikings will be looking for either a rotational defensive tackle or someone to challenge Spencer Johnson for the starting spot alongside Pro Bowler Kevin Williams. There are a variety of players to choose from in free agency.

2005 Free-Agent Defensive Tackles

A listing of the defensive tackles scheduled for NFL free agency in 2005. UFA=Unrestricted Free Agent; RFA=Restricted Free Agent; ERFA=Exclusive Rights Free Agent. For definitions of free-agent terms, click here. The "Best of the Bunch" is sorted by rankings from's Lane Adkins. The "Rest of the Bunch" is sorted by free-agent type, then by most recent team. Comments provided for unrestricted free agents.
Player Free-Agent Type 2004 Team
Pat Williams UFA Bills
Comment: With the Eagles' Corey Simon getting the franchise tag last week, Williams moves up to the top defensive tackle scheduled for free agency this year. With 474 tackles and 13 sacks, he has proven to be a very productive interior player, but the Bills might not be able to afford Williams and Sam Adams. Chances are he'll land with another team for decent money.
Jason Ferguson UFA Jets
Comment: The Jets would probably like to re-sign Ferguson, but their top priority on the defensive line in free agency will lie with getting John Abraham under contract before he hits the open market. That could mean an opportunity for another team to swoop in and steal Ferguson.
Seth Payne UFA Texans
Comment: When healthy, he's a productive player. A risky proposition, though, considering recent surgery to repair two torn tendons in his hamstring and reconstructive knee surgery in 2003.
Tony Williams UFA Bengals
Comment: A broken and dislocated ankle ended his 2004 campaign prematurely, and the Bengals have young players looking to emerge at DT.
Chris Hovan UFA Vikings
Comment: Quick defensive tackle that has struggled to disengage from blocks recently. In the right system, he could get his career back on track, but the last two years have been an outright bust with the Vikings. Won't be back in Minnesota.
Leonardo Carson UFA Cowboys
Comment: Character issues could be a concern for some teams after an opening-game suspension in 2003 because of an incident involving an ex-girlfriend.
Marcus Bell UFA Lions
Comment: A solidly built run stuffer.
Josh Evans UFA Jets
Comment: While talented, Evans would be a risk-reward signing. He had back surgery last September and was placed on injured reserve and will turn 33 early in the season.
Cedric Killings UFA Redskins
Comment: A consummate roster-bubble player.
Eric Downing RFA Chargers
James Reed UFA Jets
Comment: A decent reserve in a team's tackle rotation but likely never a starter.
Chartric Darby UFA Buccaneers
Comment: Could play either left end or tackle, but won't be a big player in the free-agent game.
Kenny Smith UFA Saints
Comment: In his first go-round in unrestricted free agency, Smith's career was on the rise with a career-high 42 tackles in 2003, but he tore a rotator cuff in training camp last year and was placed on injured reserve. He can play both end and tackle.
Derrick Ransom UFA Jaguars
Comment: A hard-working journeyman-type who has the versatility to play end on running downs.
Kelvin Pritchett UFA Lions
Comment: Getting a little long in the tooth
Lance Legree UFA Giants
Comment: Showed some versatility when he moved out to defensive end late in the season and he may need to stay there if he re-signs with the Giants.
Junior Ioane UFA Texans
Comment: After coming up with 29 tackles in 2003, Ioane only played in one game in 2004.
Luther Ellis UFA Broncos
Comment: Injuries have limited his effectiveness the last few years, so it's unlikely any team will spend much money on that gamble.
Joe Salave'a UFA Redskins
Comment: Proved that he still had some gas in the tank as a solid run stuffer with Washington in 2004. Would be a decent backup for most teams.
Player Free-Agent Type 2004 Team
Chris Cooper UFA 49ers
Comment: Can played both inside and outside and has had some shining moments in San Fran.
Daleroy Stewart UFA 49ers
Comment: Played in 15 games with the Cowboys in 2003 and spent time with the Jets and 49ers.
Monsanto Pope UFA Broncos
Comment: The former seventh-round pick has blown hot and cold. He was on the roster bubble at the end of last year's training camp, but wound up climbing the depth chart before a sprained wrist limited his time.
Devone Claybrooks UFA Cowboys
Comment: Decent pass rusher.
Alan Harper UFA Jets
Comment: A fourth-round pick in 2002, Harper hasn't been a contributor yet. He'll be a low priority in free agency.
Cullen Jenkins UFA Packers
Comment: Could start in emergency situations, but isn't big enough to handle full-time duty on the interior line. Better pass rusher than run stuffer, but a hard all-around worker.
Kendrick Clancy UFA Steelers
Comment: Spent most of his career as a backup nose tackle in Pittsburgh, but he appears to be a fit primarily for 3-4 schemes, limiting his potential suitors in free agency.
Dorsett Davis RFA Broncos
Ross Kolodziej RFA Cardinals
Dequnicy Scott RFA Chargers
Dario Romero RFA Dolphins
Ma'ake Kemoeatu RFA Ravens
Matt Zielinski RFA Ravens
Rocky Bernard RFA Seahawks
Tony Brown ERFA 49ers
Terrance Martin ERFA Bengals
Nick Eason ERFA Browns
Jon Bradley ERFA Buccaneers
Jacques Cesaire ERFA Chargers
Montique Sharpe ERFA Chiefs
Jermaine Brooks ERFA Cowboys
Kendrick Allen ERFA Giants
Jordan Carstens ERFA Panthers
Ethan Kelley ERFA Patriots
Howard Green ERFA Saints
Grant Bowman ERFA Steelers

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