With free agency set to begin in two weeks, Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda previews the 2015 NFL free agent class. Today's focus is on the tackles.
A key to any successful offense, whether it's a run-heavy attack or one in a spread formation, is the play of the line and, more specifically, the tackles.
Charged with keeping the quarterback protected from edge rushers and clearing holes for the backs, the tackles' play can be the crux between winning and losing.
As the Redskins look to move on from back-to-back tough seasons, they may also be in the market to revamp their depth at tackle.
Whether that's through the draft or in free agency remains to be seen, but first-year general manager Scot McCloughan just wants to add players with passion for the game.
"All the sudden you have an offensive lineman who measures 6'2 1/2" when the league average is 6'4", I could care less about that," McCloughan told Larry Michael, Voice of the Redskins, at the NFL Combine. "Let me know about a football player and we'll go from there, because that's what's going to help me on Sundays."
The Redskins currently return three tackles who started at least one game during the 2014 season – Pro Bowler Trent Williams, Morgan Moses and Tom Compton – but stand to lose veteran Tyler Polumbus.
Polumbus started 31 of 32 regular-season games during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, but between a mix of injuries and performance, was eventually replaced in the starting lineup in 2014 by Compton.
Below is a list of the rest of the veteran tackles set to hit the open market next month:
- Byron Bell, Carolina Panthers
- Michael Oher, Tennessee Titans
- Eben Britton, Chicago Bears
- Bryan Bulaga, Green Bay Packers
- Gabe Carimi, Atlanta Falcons
- Jason Fox, Miami Dolphins
- Doug Free, Dallas Cowboys
- Ryan Harris, Kansas City Chiefs
- Jeffrey Linkenbach, Kansas City Chiefs
- Marshall Newhouse, Cincinnati Bengals
- Derek Newton, Houston Texans
- Jermey Parnell, Dallas Cowboys
- Tyler Polumbus, Washington Redskins
- Garrett Reynolds, Detroit Lions
- Michael Roos, Tennessee Titans
- Jonathan Scott, Atlanta Falcons
- Garry Williams, Carolina Panthers
- Eric Winston, Cincinnati Bengals
Roos, who has spent his entire career to date with the Titans, is a three-time Pro Bowler who has started all 148 games that he's appeared in during his 10-year career.
He's also remained fairly durable during his NFL years, as he's appeared in all 16 regular-season games eight times.
Free, meanwhile is a veteran of eight NFL seasons – all with the Cowboys.
While he didn't get much game action during his first three seasons, from 2010 to 2013, he started all 64 regular-season games.
He appeared in just 11 games during the 2014 season, hampered by foot and ankle injuries, but still helped spring running back DeMarco Murray to a career year.