Free Agent Preview: Defensive Tackle
The rotation of Tommie Harris, Ian Scott, Terry Johnson and Alfonso Boone is among the deepest in the league. Unless the Bears view Johnson as a head case with his legal troubles, the personnel is likely to stand pat.
Arizona Cardinals NT Russell Davis, who becomes an unrestricted free agent, is a decent veteran worth bringing back.
Baltimore Ravens NT Maake Kemoeatu is a big-bodied cog in the middle and has surprising quickness. The Ravens will try to keep Kemoeatu from becoming an unrestricted free agent in March.
Seattle Seahawks DT Ricky Bernard collected 8.5 sacks during the regular season. He is an unrestricted free agent, who the Seahawks would like back, but they have several other key players to re-sign.
Denver Broncos DT Gerard Warren is one of Denver's top free agents. Warren had a good season and was a solution to the Broncos' problems at defensive tackle. But Warren will probably get interest on the open market because he is athletic and strong inside, and solid defensive tackles are always in demand.
St. Louis Rams DT Damione Lewis hasn't lived up to expectations after being the 12th overall pick in the 2001 draft. He is solid, but he will be a free agent in March.
Buffalo Bills DT Ron Edwards, who has suffered two season-ending shoulder injuries, would be a risky re-signing as an unrestricted free agent.
Baltimore Ravens DT Anthony Weaver would have had his best season except he was bothered by leg and back injuries. The Ravens will try to keep Weaver from becoming an unrestricted free agent in March.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Chris Hovan is an unrestricted free agent. He led the improvement of the Bucs' run defense from 19th in the league to sixth.
New York Giants DT Kendrick Clancy, acquired as a free agent from Pittsburgh, was a true find. He had a pair of sacks, several hurries and made unexpected penetration from the middle. An attempt to re-sign him will be made.
Indianapolis Colts DT Larry Tripplett lost weight and showed improved quickness off the ball this season as he had four sacks as a part-time starter. He could look for a starting job elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent.
Kansas City Chiefs DT Lional Dalton had a considerable drop-off after a promising first year in Kansas City, and his future under new coach Herman Edwards remains uncertain.
San Francisco 49ers DL Travis Hall is not expected back next season.
San Diego Chargers DL DeQuincy Scott saw action mostly on passing downs and responded with 4 1/2 sacks. The unrestricted free agent is expected to get an offer from San Diego.
Green Bay Packers NT Grady Jackson was an occasional enforcer in the middle, particularly near the goal line, and the 33-year-old managed to stay healthy the entire season. As much as he expects to be paid on par with the top nose tackles in the league, Jackson may have to settle on re-signing with Green Bay for a modest deal beefed up with incentives.
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