Free agency screeches to a crawl but there were some big offensive tackle moves on Thursday.
Russell Okung chose the Broncos over the Giants and Lions. Denver gave him a really smart deal with a four year team option after 2016. Okung will get up to 8 million in 2016 with a 5 million base salary. The Broncos then have a 4 year 48 million dollar option with 35.5 million to be paid out from 2017-2019. This is a genius move by Denver.
The Jaguars did the same type of deal with Kelvin Beachum. Beachum will get a 1 year deal at 4.5 million in 2016. The Jaguars have a 4 year 40 million dollar option to pick up in 2017 if Beachum plays well in 2016 after his ACL injury.
The Lions are left out in the cold on the Okung sweepstakes. All hope is not lost though. The Lions have the 16th and 46th pick in the draft to find a good offensive tackle. Also, the Riley Reiff and Michael Ola combination was successful in 2015 for Detroit. Abdullah had 4.7 YPC with that combination and Cooter was able to stabilize the pass protection. Reiff and Ola could do well for Detroit in 2016. However, the Lions need depth and future options.
OT Trade Market
A trade is an option too. The Broncos are shopping Ryan Clady after bringing in Okung. Clady has base salaries of 9.5 and 10 million for 2016 and 2017. The Lions could certainly swing a deal and take an injury risk on Clady. Clady was hurt in May 2015 and will have over a year of recovery time for his ACL injury. Clady was an all pro in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014. He may be worth a trade despite the injury. If I were the Lions, I would consider giving up 46 but a better option would be pick 111 and two 5th round picks. Clady’s cap number for Denver and his injury hopefully reduce his trade value. However, Denver having Clady and Okung would be incredible for them to protect their QB and block in the run game.
Joe Thomas is another all pro that could be acquired via trade. However, Thomas is 31 and much more expensive than Clady. Denver offered a 1st and 2nd round pick but Cleveland didn’t bite last season. Thomas has three years left on his deal at reasonable prices but giving up your top picks is too costly.
Mike Neal has visited the Seahawks and Detroit. Neal would be a 4-3 DE for either team. Neal is good in run defense but lacked giving consistent pass rush at 3-4 OLB. I could see Neal as the 4th DE for either team though.
There are 19 rule changes to be voted on next month by the NFL. Here is the full list.
This should wrap up scooped for awhile unless there are some blockbuster moves. Our attention shifts to the draft and the Draft 2016 Prospect Articles by Position Group.