Offseason Speculation: Offensive Tackles

There are undoubtedly some players on NFL rosters now that will be released due to Salary Cap reasons. You already know in depth about the Panthers Muhsin Muhammad… now to fill you in on the players and situations you may not know about. <br><br>Could the Panthers be working a trade for a top notch Tackle?

Buffalo Free Agent Tackle Jonas Jennings is an unrestricted free agent and free to sign with the highest bidder, andthe Bills want to keep him, but the problem is that Jennings has really come into his own, and will get a lot of interest from teams that are more complete teams than the Bills are. Jennings is 27, and needs to make a big splash now. The Bills want to keep him, but are unlikely to get into a bidding war to do so. He should have a new home in '05.

The Tennessee Titans have had cap problems for the last few years. It's expected that their best WR, Derrick Mason, will be a sacrificial lamb, along with Offensive Tackle Brad Hopkins. Hopkins is a 12 year veteran who has a little tread left on the tires, but won't be a long term fix for anyone. Offensive Tackle Fred Miller is another possible cap casualty, but still has gas in the tank and is worth keeping around for a few more years. Miller is a nasty run blocker that consistently works hard and will help pave the way for the Titans running game.

The Redskins are at a crossroads with Chris Samuels. The 3rd pick overall in the 2000 NFL draft, Samuels has never produced up to the level the Redskins expected when they drafted him. Samuels, going into his 6th NFL season, has a hefty Cap number and could be released if the Redskins decide that the price isn't worth the production.

In Oakland, the Raiders want to move Robert Gallery into his natural position, Left Tackle. Only problem is that Barry Sims is currently there. They'll just move Sims to Right Tackle, right? Wrong. The Right Tackle position is all but locked down by the massive Langston Walker. Walker stands 6' 8" tall and weighs in at 345 lbs. A punishing run blocker, Norv Turner loves the potential in Walker. That leaves Sims, a 6th year solid Left Tackle that was undrafted out of college, out in the cold.

Perhaps the most intriguing situation regarding the Offensive Line in the NFL is the L.J. Shelton saga in Arizona. Shelton, a 6th year pro and 1st round pick out of Eastern Michigan, was once the Anchor of the Cardinals offensive line and is often lauded for his superb footwork. A 5 year starter at Right Tackle, Shelton was moved to Left Tackle by Dennis Green in '04. Shelton signed a five-year contract extension in 2003 that commits him to the Cardinals through the 2008 season. The Mammoth Tackle landed in Green's doghouse after he arrived overweight to mini camp after an offseason ankle surgery. Shelton shouldn't shoulder all the blame, however. Cardinals Coach Dennis Green made some questionable personnel moves in 2004, one of them firing Offensive line coach Bob Wylie after six games and replacing him with former Vikings lineman Everett Lindsay – A player the Cardinals cut in the Preseason and who ironically has no coaching experience. Shelton is scheduled to make 3 million dollars for the next 3 seasons and could be a dominant player in the right system and had the right motivation. The Cardinals have granted Shelton the right to negotiate a trade to another team, and it's believed that the Panthers are one of the teams interested.

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