Future Free Agents: Offensive Guards

The Oakland Raiders took a step in the right direction last season with the selections of offensive linemen Kevin Boothe and Paul McQuistan. The available talent at guard that could hit the free-agent market, however, runs the gamut, from the up-and-coming youngsters to the wily old veterans. Will the Raiders be in the bidding for one of these 25 or more possibilities?

With Barry Sims getting long in the tooth and potentially moving back outside to tackle, the Raiders can still call this position a need.

Sims started the first seven games at left guard before being declared inactive for the next three weeks due to an abdominal strain injury. His streak of 68 consecutive starts for the Raiders came to a screeching halt. He returned to game action but not the starting lineup, seeing time on special teams.

He figures to play a prominent role but will that be at guard or at tackle?

McQuistan began the year as the starter at right guard but lost his starting position to Boothe in October.

A third-round draft pick out of Weber State, McQuistan was touted as the next Steve Wisniewski, a mauler with a mean streak and a good work ethic. After the Chargers opened the season with nine sacks and Baltimore followed with seven, it was over.

He regained a shot to start, this time at left guard, later in the year and performed better.

Boothe, meanwhile, held onto the right guard spot, putting Jake Grove in the middle of two rookies.

With Corey Hulsey set to be a free agent, the Silver and Black could use a veteran presence to continue pushing the youngsters or start over one of them.

Luckily, there are plenty who should be available.



Kris Dielman, San Diego Chargers – In two seasons as a starter with the Charges, Dielman has been part of the offensive line that has consistently sprung LaDainian Tomlinson. With 29 starts in the last two years and his time entering the market as an unrestricted free agent, there should be strong interest in him. It's time to warm up the fax machine for the offers and open up a tax-friendly account.

Eric Steinbach, Cincinnati Bengals – Steinbach, along with Dielman, could be one of the most sought-after free-agent linemen on the market. He isn't expected to return to Cincinnati, and already teams are reportedly interested in signing him once the market opens on March 2. He's been a full-time starter since his 2003 rookie season, and this will be his first foray into the open market.

Chris Gray, Seattle Seahawks – Gray has helped Shaun Alexander make his mark on the NFL, but after 14 seasons (10 of them with 10 or more starts), Gray has to be considered in his twilight years. If he doesn't re-sign with the Hawks, he's likely a stopgap player for a team looking for a starter for a year or two with developmental talent in waiting.

Sean Mahan, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mahan, a 6-3, 301-pound guard, has worked his way into a starting role with the Bucs in the last three years after spending his rookie season without a start. He's young, emerging and unrestricted. The Bucs are expected to make an attempt to keep him.

Ruben Brown, Chicago Bears – The former Buffalo Bill and current Bear has been a starter since his rookie season, but the problem is that rookie season came in 1995. That's a lot of wear and tear on an offensive lineman, but it's also a lot of experience. He has started every game he has played – and that's 173 for those counting. He has expressed a strong desire to return to the Bears.

Derrick Dockery, Washington Redskins – The 6-6, 335-pounder is another career-long starter, but his advantage is that career is only four years old. He is entering his first opportunity as an unrestricted free agent, and could find a sweet deal with many teams ready to spend.

Cosey Coleman, Cleveland Browns – Coleman has already gone through his first round of unrestricted free agency and moved from Tampa Bay to Cleveland. The seven-year veteran has been a six-year starter, ever since a season of training in his rookie year of 2007.
OTHER FREE-AGENT GUARDS

Cooper Carlisle, Denver Broncos
Rick DeMulling, Detroit Lions
Anthony Herrera, Minnesota Vikings (restricted)
Montrae Holland, New Orleans Saints
Corey Hulsey, Oakland Raiders
Kendyl Jacox, Miami Dolphins
Lewis Kelly, New York Giants
Scott Kooistra. Cincinnati Bengals
Ryan Lilja, Indianapolis Colts (restricted)
Chris Liwienski, Arizona Cardinals
Vincent Manuwai, Jacksonville Jaguars
Scott Peters, Carolina Panthers
Grey Ruegamer, New York Giants
Jake Scott, Indianapolis Colts (restricted)
Jeb Terry, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (restricted)
Jason Whittle, Minnesota Vikings
Floyd Womack, Seattle Seahawks


SB Report Top Stories