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Can't Miss Slants

2016 Free Agents: Guards and Centers

The 2016 free agent series continues on offense by looking at free agent guards and center.

Needs

The Packers don’t have any guard or center needs with Corey Linsley, Josh Sitton, TJ Lang and JC Tretter on the roster. Josh Walker is a young developing guard as well for Green Bay.

The Bears could use a starting guard unless Kyle Long moves back inside to right guard with an addition at right tackle for the Bears. Backup guards Patrick Omameh and Vlad Ducasse had poor 2015 seasons for the Bears and are also free agents for Chicago. The Bears may need two guards through free agency or the draft or one guard and one tackle. The Bears don’t need a starting center with 3rd round pick from 2015 Hronnis Grasu returning. Will Montgomery was added by the Bear to play center but he is a free agent.

The Lions could use a backup guard behind Laken Tomlinson and Larry Warford. The Lions have a free agent of their own in Manny Ramirez who did well at both guard and center. Detroit would be smart to pick up the 33 year old for a veteran who earned a +7.8 grade in 501 snaps (367 snaps at guard). Ramirez allowed 1 sack, 1 QB hit and only 6 hurries at guard and center for Detroit. The Lions could use competition at center as Travis Swanson struggled in his first full year starting at center. Swanson just had shoulder surgery so the Lions may look at the center market.

The Vikings need a starting right guard with starter Mike Harris a free agent. Harris earned a +8.1 grade and allowed 3 sacks, 2 QB hits and 21 hurries. Harris did a solid job but the Vikings will have to re-sign him or look for an upgrade. John Sullivan returns at center and Joe Berger was excellent at center filling in for Sullivan in 2015. Berger could move to guard but the Viking may try to keep Harris or upgrade.

Starting Guards

Jahri Evans was cut by the Saints for cap room. Evans allowed 3 sacks, 1 hit and 8 hurries in 820 snaps. Evans would be a nice addition to the Vikings or Bears as a starter.

Alex Boone had a down year for the 49ers (who didn’t). Boone was good in pass blocking but struggled in run blocking (-5.4). Boone allowed 3 sacks, 5 hits and 9 hurries in 785 snaps.

Evan Mathis had a great year on a one year deal for the Broncos. Mathis earned a whopping +26.2 and was excellent as a run blocker. The Eagles were idiots to cut Evan Mathis and the Broncos prospered. We will see if the Broncos can re-sign Mathis. Mathis’s only downside is his age at 34 years old.

Richie Incognito had a great season for the Bills after being cut from the Dolphins. Incognito bullied opponents around and earned a +35.1 grade. Incognito was the second highest rated guard in the league. Bully for him.

Chris Chester had a solid season for the Falcons to help revive their offensive line. Chester earned a +5.1 grade but struggled in pass blocking (-6.7). Chester is 33 years old and may be a backup at this point though.

Geoff Schwartz was cut by the Giants after injury plagued seasons. Schwartz did have a +9.8 grade in 685 snaps for the Giants. His big concern is a long injury history. Schwartz played with the Vikings previously.

Jeff Allen had a +10.9 grade in only 387 snaps (ankle injury) for the Chiefs. Allen returned in December and gave the Chiefs a boost on the offensive line. Allen is a good guard but has had an injured past the last two seasons (ankle and elbow).

JR Sweezy played poorly for Seattle. Sweezy earned a -15.8 grade in 1,030 snaps for the Seahawks. Sweezy has had better years and is a starter in the league. We will see if the Seahawks try to keep Sweezy or upgrade at guard. Sweezy is a dirty player that injured Tyrunn Walker in Week 4. It ain’t easy being Sweezy.

Ramon Foster is 30 years old. Foster had a nice year with the Steelers with a +15.3 grade. Foster gave up 6 sacks, 2 hits and 19 hurries and was a good run blocker. He will be a nice addition at left guard for some team. Foster’s, Australian for solid guard.

Starting Centers

Manny Ramirez is listed again. He is a good guard and a good center with experience at center with Detroit and the Broncos. The Lions could pick up Ramirez and start him over the struggling and injured (shoulder) Travis Swanson (3rd round pick 2014).

Stephen Wisniewski had a good year with the Jaguars after failing in Oakland. Wisniewski had a +4.7 grade which was 8th best in the league in 2015. He gave up 2 sacks, 0 hits and 11 hurries but struggled in run blocking (-3.2).

Will Montgomery was injured early for the Bears. He could be a low end starter for a center desperate team at center. Montgomery had some solid years with the Redskins and Broncos previously. Montgomery is 33 years old.

Ben Jones had a down year with the Texans (-5.9). He is a veteran starter and won’t command too much money on the open market. Jones is only 27 which will help him find a starting job.

Backup Guards and Center

JD Walton is the definition of a free agent bust (Giants). He should be available on a one year cheap deal after struggling in San Diego last season.

Lyle Sendelein was terrible at center for the Cardinals and Ted Larsen was terrible at guard. They have experience but many down years in past years. They are backup free agents at best.

Josh Ribeus had a -14.7 grade for the Redskins filling in for the injured Kory Lichtensteiger.

Summary

There are good amount starting guards for the Bears and Vikings to obtain if they want and need. The Lions need a back-up at guard/center but would do well to keep Manny Ramirez to push or start over Travis Swanson at center. I would be shocked if the Packers signed a guard or center in free agency (despite the old Jeff Saturday move by Thompson).