Around the League: Free Agent Guards

The Vikings could be in the market for an offensive guard. Find out what beat writers around the league think about the handful of guards they cover that are scheduled for free agency in March.

  • Chicago Bears G Terrence Metcalf, an unrestricted free agent, started the first 12 games and 13 overall, but Roberto Garza, who signed a six-year extension at the end of the regular season, looks like the logical starter next season. Metcalf is bigger and stronger, but Garza plays with better technique.

  • Minnesota Vikings G Toniu Fonoti, acquired near the trade deadline from San Diego, replaced Chris Liwienski at left guard but suffered a season-ending groin injury against the Packers. Fonoti is a pending free agent and reported to the Vikings at 404 pounds - 54 pounds more than his listed playing weight. However, if he can get in shape, Fonoti could be a force and would probably bump RG Adam Goldberg.

  • Carolina Panthers RG Tutan Reyes and C Jeff Mitchell are both unrestricted free agents. Don't expect the team to go out of its way to sign either. Remember, they have Evan Mathis, a third-round pick in 2005, and Geoff Hangartner, a fifth-round selection waiting in the wings to replace those guys. That may or may not happen this year, but it's hard to imagine Carolina spending much money to keep either Mitchell or Reyes.

  • New England Patriots RG Stephen Neal, who is a free agent, didn't play football in college (he was an NCAA wrestling champion) but has developed into a very solid player, one who could draw interest on the open market.

  • Oakland Raiders G Corey Hulsey, an unrestricted free agent, never got a good look even though the guards were struggling - indicating he is strictly a fringe player.

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