Sign up for premium coverage of the Chiefs and NFL on bobgretz.com, click here.

-  -

Interior Defensive Line Free Agents

That’s Jamal Williams (left), Aubrayo Franklin (center) and Pat Williams (right).

With the NFL owners’ lockout coming to an end, one of the first things that will get done on the agenda for the 2011 season is the free agent signing period.

Compressed into a week to 10 days rather than several months, the run to free agency will be fast and frantic. It will come after a two or three-day window where teams will have an exclusive shot at re-signing their own free agents.

As one of the NFL teams that must spend a lot of money in the 2011 season to reach the minimum level of spending under the salary cap, the Chiefs figure to be a buyer in this postponed free agency period. Knowing how the front office under GM Scott Pioli works, they will approach the free-agent market with very specific plans; the chance the Chiefs spend willy-nilly on free agents is very low.

Due to the lack of off-season preparation time, teams figure to be more likely to spend the money necessary to keep their own free agents. That’s especially true for the Chiefs as they speak often of the culture they are trying to create and the type of personalities that fit into that team picture.

One spot that will require their attention will be the defensive line, specifically interior players for the nose tackle and defensive tackle positions.

The primary players at that spot in the 2010 Chiefs are free agents – Ron Edwards and Shaun Smith. Both players are not considered upper echelon talents; Edwards is average, while Smith is coming off the best season of his career, with contributions not only on the nose, but at defensive end.

At the start of free agency way back in late February-early March, there were two prime-time nose tackles that were scheduled to be unrestricted free agents – the Baltimore Ravens Haloti Ngata and Paul Soliai of the Miami Dolphins. Ngata is 6-4, 350 pounds and just 27 years old. Soliai is 6-4, 355 pounds and also 27 years old.

But alas, both Ngata and Soliai were slapped with the franchise player tag. Both players signed their $12.5 million tender offers for the 2011 season. That’s the storyline of free agency in the NFL – teams have learned to keep their own players, rather than spending large sums of money on players they don’t know.

The decision Pioli and folks must make is how much they can expect out of Edwards and Smith and how far they are going to dive into what is a shallow pool of free agents. A true nose tackle is one of the hardest positions to find in the NFL. While teams using the 3-4 defense have grown in number, they are all searching for that big man in the middle. They want someone between 6-2 and 6-5, anywhere from 325-360 pounds, with foot quickness and great strength. Those types of guys don’t just fall out of the football personnel trees, and thank goodness for that because they could hurt somebody.

Here’s the unofficial list of unrestricted free agents at DT/NT, plus a few guys who have played DE, but can move inside. We are working under the proviso that free agency will come to players who have played four years or more. Some players may be added to the list once teams can move players on and off their rosters.

The list has been broken down, creating categories based on talent, age and production. Included on the list are last year’s stats plus the ranking of the player’s defense in yards allowed against the run and pass during the ’10 season. Players marked with an * spent most of last season on the injured list.

And it all starts with Edwards and Smith.

Chiefs Unrestricted Free Agent Defensive/Nose Tackles 
  Player 

 Old Team 

 Ht 

 Wt 

 Exp 

 Age 

 ’10 Tkl 

 ’10 Sks 

 FF 

 Rank  Run 

Rank  Pass 

Ron Edwards 

KC 

 6-3

 315

 10

 32

 26

 2

 0

 14

 17

Shaun Smith 

 KC 

 6-2

 325

 6

 29

 56

 1

 0

 14

 17

Other Unrestricted Free Agent Defensive/Nose Tackles

Group A – The Best Available

  Player 

 Old Team 

 Ht 

 Wt 

 Exp 

 Age 

 ’10 Tkl 

 ’10 Sks 

 FF 

 Rank  Run 

 Rank  Pass 

Anthony  Adams 

 CHI

 6-0

 310

 8

 31

 37

 2

 2

 2

 20

Remi  Ayodele 

 NO 

 6-2 

 318

 4 

 28 

 68 

 1 

 1 

 16

 4

Aubrayo  Franklin 

 SF 

 6-1 

 317 

 8 

 30 

 39 

 0 

 0 

 6

 24

Anthony  Hargrove 

 NO

 6-3

 272

 6

 27

 29

 1

 2

 16

 4

Tommie Harris 

 CHI 

 6-3 

 295 

 7 

 28 

 13 

 1.5 

 0 

 2

 20

Tony (E)  McDaniel 

 MIA 

 6-7 

 305 

 5 

 26

 36

2.5

 0

 7

 8

Daniel Muir 

 IND 

 6-2 

 312 

 4 

 27 

 38

 0

 0

 25

 13

Franklin is the guy who has drawn all the attention. He was the Niners franchise player last season and they were able to keep him for another year. When San Francisco played the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in late September 2010, Franklin was very unimpressive; he had 4 tackles in a defense that allowed 457 yards in offense, including 207 rushing yards, at 5.3 yards per carry. Plus, Chiefs QB Matt Cassel was not sacked in the game on 27 passing plays.

The other players in this Class A category play either DT or DE – they are not first-down nose tackles. Adams and Ayodele are intriguing options, especially the second guy who is just 28 years old.

CLASS B – VERY VETERAN PLAYERS AND THOSE RETURNING FROM INJURY
Player

 Old  Team

Ht

 Wt

 Exp

 Age

 ’10  Tkl

 ’10  Sks

 FF

Rank Run

 Rank Pass

Pat  Williams

 MIN 

 6-3 

 317 

 14 

 38 

 30 

 0 

 1 

 9

 10

a*Kris Jenkins 

 NYJ

 6-4

 360

 10

 31

 1

 0

 0

 –

 –

*Chris Hovan 

 STL 

 6-2 

 300 

 11 

 33 

 0 

 0 

 0 

 – 

 – 

*Robaire Smith (E) 

 CLV 

 6-5 

 310 

 11 

 33 

 25 

 0 

 0 

 –

 –

Bryan Robinson 

 ARZ

 6-4

 305

 14

 37

 19

 0

 0

 30

 23

Marques Douglas 

 TEN 

 6-2 

 292 

 10 

 34 

 21

 0

 0

 20

 29

Chris  Hoke 

 PIT

 6-2

 305

 9

 35

 12

 0

 0

 1

 12

Damione  Lewis 

 HOU

 6-2

 301

 10

 33

 17

 1

 0

 13

 32

Jamal  Williams 

 DEN

 6-3

 348

 13

 35

 47

 0

 0

 31

 25

a – Jenkins announced his retirement on Wednesday.

There are familiar names in this group, including guys that in the past have played at a Pro Bowl level in the middle. That would guys like Pat and Jamal Williams, Kris Jenkins and Robaire Smith. Those first three are true nose tackles, while Smith is probably better suited to play DT or DE in the 3-4. But all three of those nose tackles are long in the tooth and Jenkins is coming off a pair of torn ACLs that came in 11 months, forcing him to miss all but the 2010 season opener.

Somebody from this group would be a stop-gap, a one-year band-aid at the position.

CLASS C – THE MIDDLE CLASS IN THE MIDDLE 
  Player Old  Team

 Ht

 Wt

 Exp

 Age

 ’10 Tkl

 ’10 Sks

FF

 Rank Run

 Rank Pass

Justin  Bannan 

 DEN

  6-3

 310

 9

 32

 35

 1

 1

 31

 25

Ronald  Fields 

 DEN

 6-2

 314

 6

 29

 22

 0

 0

 31

 25

Brandon Mebane 

 SEA 

 6-1 

 311 

 4 

 26

 31

 1

 0

 21

 27

Gerard Warren 

 NE

 6-4

 330

 10

 32

 28

 3.5

 0

 11

 30

Craig Terrill 

 SEA

 6-2

 296

 7

 31

 10

 0

 0

 21

 27

Gary Gibson 

 STL 

 6-3 

 300 

 5 

 29 

 18

 0

 0

 17

 19

Gabe Watson 

 ARZ 

 6-4 

 338 

 5 

 27 

 8 

 0 

 0 

 30

 23

Antonio Johnson 

 IND 

 6-3 

 310 

 4 

 26 

 26

 ½

 0

 25

 13

*Junior Siavii 

 SEA 

 6-5 

 315 

 4 

 32 

 30

 0

 0

 21

 27

Alan Branch 

 ARZ 

 6-6 

 338 

 4 

 26 

 36 

 2 

 2 

 30

 23

Barry Cofield 

 NYG 

 6-4 

 306 

 5 

 27 

 60 

 4 

 2 

 8

 9

Derek  Landri  CAR

 6-2

290

 4

 27

 43

 3

 0

 23

 11

Marcus Thomas 

 DEN 

 6-3 

 316 

 4 

 25 

 35

 1

 0

 31

 25

There are some familiar names in this group for head coach Todd Haley, with a pair of Arizona Cardinals in Gabe Watson and Alan Branch. There’s also a familiar name for Chiefs fans in Junior Siavii, who after failing so poorly while wearing red and gold, has stitched together a career playing for Dallas and Seattle.

 The cream of the crop in this category is Barry Cofield from the Giants; last year he had 60 tackles and four sacks for one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2010.

CLASS D – UNPROVEN OR LITTLE PRODUCTION 
  Player

 Old Team

 Ht

  Wt

 Exp

 Age

 ’10 tkls

 ’10 sks

 FF

Rank Run

Rank Pass

*John McCargo

 BUF 

 6-2 

 307 

 5 

 27 

 1 

 0 

 0 

 –

 –

Amon  Gordon 

 SEA 

  6-2 

 305 

 6 

 29 

 2

 0

 0

 21

 27

*Justin Harrell 

 GB 

  6-4 

 315 

 4 

 27 

 0

 0

 0

 18

 5

Clifton Ryan 

 STL 

 6-3 

 324 

 4 

 27 

 0

 0

 0

 17

 19

Fred Evans 

 MIN 

 6-4 

 305 

 5 

 27 

 4

 0

 0

 9

 10

Several draft disappointments in this group for Buffalo in John McCargo and Green Bay with Justin Harrell. Injuries and lack of production have held each of these guys back and they are not likely tos be considered by the Chiefs.


3 Responses to “Interior Defensive Line Free Agents”

  • July 20, 2011  - Blake says:

    Bob if you had to make a guess, which NT would you expect KC to sign? Do you think KC would give a large contract to Franklin, who some say will only play good during a contract year? If you had to name a sleeper who would it be?


  • July 21, 2011  - Anonymous says:

    the nfl needs to get a CBA in so that all of this can happen




Get the Flash Player to see the slideshow.


Categories

AFC West Analysis 2014
Answer Bob
Chiefs 2014 Schedule
Chiefs Practice-Injury Reports 2014
Chiefs Roster Moves 2014
Game Coverage 2013
Game Coverage 2014
Minicamps-OTAs 2014
NFL Almanac 2014
NFL Combine 2014
NFL Draft 2014
NFL Free Agency 2014
Other News
Practice Reports 2014
Training Camp 2014

Archives


RSS


Pages

Home