Offensive Tackle Free Agent Rankings

Back when mid-season reports broke that the Vikings were in talks with right tackle Phil Loadholt I opined that they need not rush into a blockbuster deal with a simply above-average option that played better during his contract year, especially with a whole lot of options existing in free agency and the Draft.

A Pro Football Talk article recently confirmed that this notion exists in NFL front offices.  With so many tackle options, especially right tackle options, set to be available to teams there seems to be little reason to shell out the big money.

Loadholt is not a bad option moving forward, especially with continuity always acting as an added bonus, but he is far from the only option.

Left tackle isn’t going to be a priority this offseason, with Matt Kalil looking like the real deal, but things are unsettled on the right side and towards the bottom of the depth chart.  Lets take a look at what options exist:

Top Tier

1.  Sebastian Vollmer, NE

You are going to see most rankings have Jake Long or Ryan Clady in this spot, but they will demand left tackle money, and the Vikings are set on the left side with Kalil holding down the post.  It isn’t that Kalil or one of these guys couldn’t play on the right side, it’s that the Vikings probably don’t want to pay them to.  Vollmer is arguably the best right tackle in the NFL and will demand a fair amount of money, but in my mind would present a clear upgrade over Loadholt.

2.  Ryan Clady, DEN

Isn’t going to happen in a million years, but you can’t put a guy too far down in the rankings just because you know your team won’t pull the trigger.  For my money, a technician like Clady edges out the suddenly suspect Jake Long.

3.  Jake Long, MIA

Long has continued to regress over the last two seasons and injuries are part of the reason why.  Perhaps a switch to the right side would make him more elite at his position, but it seems unlikely that he would knowingly sign with a team at a right tackle’s salary.

4.  Phil Loadholt, MIN

It worries me that Loadholt’s best season was a contract year, and he still seems to struggle against speed rushers, but Loadholt is an absolute beast when asked to simply mow a guy down.  The Vikings shouldn’t allow him to get away without a fight, by any means.

5.  Branden Albert, KC

Of all the left tackles that I could potentially see making the move to right tackle, and getting paid accordingly, I think Albert makes the most sense.  He could really be a success story by making that transition on a roster like the Vikings (or the Chiefs, really).

Second Tier

6.  William Beatty, NYG

7.  Gosder Cherilus, DET

8.  Andre Smith, CIN

9.  Sam Baker, ATL

10.  Jermon Bushrod, NO

11.  Demetress Bell, PHI

Third Tier

12.  King Dunlap, PHI

13.  Ryan Harris, HOU

14.  Barry Richardson, STL

15.  Winston Justice, IND

16.  Jamaal Brown, WAS

17.  Jeremy Trueblood, TB

18.  Max Starks, PIT

19.  Khalif Barnes, OAK

The Rest

20.  Jordan Black, WAS

21.  William Robinson, NO

22.  Sean Locklear, NYG

23.  Bryant McKinnie, BAL

24.  Nate Garner, MIA

25.  Jonathan Scott, CHI

26.  Tyler Polumbus, WAS

27.  D’Anthony Batiste, ARI

28.  Dennis Roland, CIN

29.  Frank Omiyale, SEA

30.  Rashad Butler, HOU

31.  Brandyn Dombrowski, SD

32.  Corey Hilliard, DET

33.  Will Svitek, ATL