Free-Agent Defensive Tackles
|BEST OF THE BUNCH|
|Player||Free-Agent Type||2004 Team|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Comment: A broken and dislocated ankle ended his 2004 campaign prematurely, and the Bengals have young players looking to emerge at DT.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Comment: A solidly built run stuffer.|
|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.|
|Comment: A consummate roster-bubble player.|
|Comment: A decent reserve in a team's tackle rotation but likely never a starter.|
|Comment: Could play either left end or tackle, but won't be a big player in the free-agent game.|
|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.|
|Comment: A hard-working journeyman-type who has the versatility to play end on running downs.|
|Comment: Getting a little long in the tooth|
|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.|
|Comment: After coming up with 29 tackles in 2003, Ioane only played in one game in 2004.|
|Comment: Injuries have limited his effectiveness the last few years, so it's unlikely any team will spend much money on that gamble.|
|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.|
|REST OF THE BUNCH|
|Player||Free-Agent Type||2004 Team|
|Comment: Can played both inside and outside and has had some shining moments in San Fran.|
|Comment: Played in 15 games with the Cowboys in 2003 and spent time with the Jets and 49ers.|
|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.|
|Comment: Decent pass rusher.|
|Comment: A fourth-round pick in 2002, Harper hasn't been a contributor yet. He'll be a low priority in free agency.|
|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.|
|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.|
NFL Free Agents: Defensive Tackles
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