2009 NFL Free Agents: Defensive Tackles
Total Pro Sports – The defensive tackle position is an unheralded spot on the field when it comes to glory for the work these men do. This years class of quality free agents is few and far between, however, there are some greats that should receive top dollars. There is some depth but not many of them will make a drastic impact on their respective roster. Let us see what is available in terms of defensive tackles.
1. Rocky Bernard: Bernard is a beast in the middle of the defensive line, the 6’3″, 300+ pound defensive linemen controls the line of scrimmage. He has spent his entire 7 year career with the Seattle Seahawks, he helped Seattle reach the Super Bowl in 2006. Bernard had his best year in terms of tackles for the Seahawks who finished with a mediocre 4-12 record, Bernard may not want to stick around for the rebuilding process that will take place in Seattle.
TPS Prediction: Although Seattle would love to sign Bernard, they will not be willing to pay what it would take to keep him. He has a few productive years left, but will be way past his prime by the time Seattle is ready to compete for Super Bowls again. He doesn’t fit long term at the price he will command and will hit the open market where he should land on a contender.
2. Shaun Cody: Everyone remembers the show Super Agent on Spike TV, the show which featured numerous agents trying to land Shaun Cody a big contract. That year Cody was projected to be a first rounder but as his stock slipped so did the big dollars. Cody has not fulfilled the expectations that the Lions had for him, and so as the rebuilding process begins for the Lions it will be interesting to see if Cody fits into their future plans.
TPS Prediction: Cody has never been wildly talented and has always been undersized. That being said, he is a hard working young player who has not yet reached his full potential. Detroit would be best served to try to sign him for depth. Cody will not be interested in staying for less than a lucritive deal. Detroit won’t overpay, so Cody will celebrate as he leaves Motown, probably to take less money in ANY other city.
3. La’roi Glover: The veteran defensive tackle has seen his numbers steadily decline over the years, he is set to turn the ripe age of 35. It will be hard for him to seek a team that may be interested at this point. Glover can fill a role of a veteran presence in the lineup for a team that is already established and looking for leadership.
TPS Prediction: Glover, even at his age, can still be a contributor. He can help a good team become an elite team by adding productive depth and leadership. He is a luxury that most teams either won’t be interested in (age) or can’t afford (cap). He will land on a “fringe” team such as New Orleans, Atlanta, or Miami, as they search for the final pieces to complete their championship puzzles.
4. Albert Haynesworth: He has established himself as one of the premier inside tackles in the game. He led Tennessee to 13-3 record, but were eliminated in the division round of the postseason. The All Star tackle is in the prime of his career and is the best tackle available on the market and will seek interest from numerous teams this offseason. He has great size and agility, plugs up the middle of the line and is a tenacious pass rusher. He has been able to stay healthy to this point in his career and is seeking the long term deal.
TPS Prediction: Haynesworth is the crowning jewel of the free agent period in 2009. Were he to hit the open market, there would be an unprecedented bidding war. Big Al’s agent has stated that his guy will become the highest paid defensive player in league history. I don’t doubt that one bit. I think that Tennessee has to franchise him to either buy them time to work out a long term deal, or to make sure they don’t lose him outright. Division rival Indianapolis is salivating at the thought of Haynesworth hitting the open market. Tennessee cannot lose control over where he goes, if they are unable to sign him.
Notable Free Agent Defensive Tackles: Dwan Edwards, Kedrick Golston, Jovan Haye, Tank Johnson, Darrell Reid, John Thornton, Darwin Walker,
Predictions are done by: Chad Ellis