Future Free Agents: Centers

The Oakland Raiders won't need to go fishing for a starting free agent center with Jake Grove on the roster but a capable backup nay be of interest. We highlight a few of the top options that could be available and list the other free agents.

It might be a good thing for the Raiders that center isn't one of their pressing needs this offseason.

Two of the better established centers went off the board before it ever really got started. New England's Dan Koppen singed a five-year contract extension that included a $7.5 million bonus and Seattle's Robbie Tobeck announced his retirement.

With Jake Grove calling center his home, Oakland has their starter. He manned the critical position for all 16 games in 2006 and is looking to anchor the line into the future, providing more stability up front. There is, however, little behind Grove.

Corey Hulsey could be an option as a backup - he plays gaurd and center but is an unrestricted free agents.

The Raiders have one in-house option - Corey Morris, a seventh round pick last season, spent most of the year on the practice squad, playing in the final five games on punts and as a long snapper. He could be in line for a bigger role in the coming season.

Here are some of the free-agent centers that could hit the market on March 2.

Shaun O'Hara, New York Giants – The Giants would like to re-sign O'Hara and have been discussing contract numbers with his agent. O'Hara has been a full-time starter with the Giants and Browns the last five years.

Andre Gurode, Dallas Cowboys – Gurode has spent his entire five-year career with the Cowboys and has started 60 of the 76 games played, with 14 of those non-starts coming in 2004. He was named to the Pro Bowl team as an injury replacement, and the Cowboys have made attempts to get him re-signed before free agency starts.

OTHER FREE-AGENT CENTERS

Eugene Amano, Tennessee Titans (restricted)
Rich Braham, Cincinnati Bengals
Lennie Friedman, Cleveland Browns
Tyrone Hopson, Detroit Lions
Al Johnson, Dallas Cowboys
Austin King, Atlanta Falcons (restricted)
Nick Leckey, Arizona Cardinals (restricted)
Jeremy Newberry, San Francisco
Mike Pucillo, Washington Redskins
Wade Smith, New York Jets
Alex Stepanovich, Arizona Cardinals (restricted)
Larry Turner, St. Louis Rams (restricted)
Cory Withrow, San Diego Chargers


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