Sunday, January 20, 2008

2008 All Free Agent Team - Offense

A look at the top unrestricted free agents available at each position. By "top," though, I don't mean the best in terms of raw ability or talent level, but in overall value, taking into consideration factors such as age and cost. Of course, it's early yet—free agency hasn't even started—and so some of these players could very well be resigned and never hit the open market. As that becomes the case, I expect I will update this "team."

QB: Chris Redman (Atlanta Falcons)
Todd Collins posted an impressive 49.1% DVOA, but he's 36 and tied to the Al Saunders system. Quinn Gray and Shaun Hill also posted positive DVOA, and Chris Redman isn't significantly better than either of them. But Gray benefitted from a strong running game, while Hill didn't see quite enough action for a full evaluation. Redman posted a positive DVOA when he started six games in 2002. In 2007, his 8.7% DVOA was 21st in the league (out of 49 QBs with at least a 100 passes) and 7.4 percentage points better than Joey Harrington's DVOA (Byron Leftiwch's DVOA on 64 passes: -56.1%, yes, that's a minus sign).

RB: Chris Brown (Tennessee Titans)
Brown's 17.9% DVOA was 10th best in the leauge. He also contributed 26.6% DVOA on his 21 receptions. Brown's upright running style is still a concern in terms of injuries and ball security, but his production, which was so much better than his running mate LenDale White's (-9.4% DVOA rushing and -19.1% receiving), will make him worth the mid-to-low level contract he gets inked to. As for everyone's favorite free agent RB, Micheal Turner, I have two words: Lamont Jordan. He might do well, but he's likely to cost more than his worth.

FB Dan Kreider (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Kreider turns 31 in March, but fullbacks should be good into their mid 30s. If you want an outlet in the passing game, you want to consider signing Carolina's Brad Hoover instead. But if you want to line up in the i formation and bulldoze your way to a first down, then Kreider's the best guy available.

WR: Bernard Berrian (Chicago Bears)
Other than Randy Moss, who I suspect will re-sign with the Pats, Berrian's the biggest name in a weak group of free agent receivers. Berrian is only 27, has had his production limited by erratic quarterback play, and can stretch the field for an offense better than any other free agent (unless Jerry Porter can return to form). As long as the money isn't crazy, Berrian will be a good signing.

WR: Ernest Wilford (Jacksonville Jaguars)
A big target and solid possession receiver, the underrated Wilford would present a nice option for a young quaterback such as Vince Young or Tarvaris Jackson. Unfortunately, Wilford's already 29, so there's little to no upside. But as a three- or four-year signing, he's the best value bet among the receivers.

TE: Ben Troupe (Tennessee Titans)
The 40th overall pick in the 2004 draft, Troupe hasn't met expectations in Tennessee. Troupe was supposed to be a receiving threat with the physical tools to develop into a good blocker. In four seasons, he's been inconsistent as a receiver and his blocking has been subpar. So why is he on my list? Well, because of his struggles, he should be able to be signed at a decent price. More importantly, he is still only 25 years old, so his peak years are still ahead of him, and he still has that physical talent. Unless there's a work ethic issue, or he lacks the desire to improve his game, Troupe should be a good signing whose production increases in the years to come.

LT: Flozell Adams (Dallas Cowboys)
Adams is the only left tackle of any consequence available. Although he played extremely well in 2007, "Hotel" turns 33 in May. He's going to want to cash in one more time, but most teams just aren't going to be able to afford giving him a contract beyond a few years and with relatively limited guaranteed money. Of course, the Dolphins are about $35 million under the cap (third best cap-positioned team in the leauge: is it any wonder why Parcells chose Miami over Atalanta, the third worst cap-positioned team?). They could offer him a longer, front-loaded contract where he gets his guaranteed dollars sooner rather than later.

RT: Jordan Gross (Carolina Panthers)
Gross is typically among the league leaders in fewest sacks allowed, even when just considering right tackles. He turns 28 in July, so he's ripe for a five-year deal. The Panthers would like to re-sign him, but they're the fourth worst team in terms of cap space (about $6 million under): if Gross hits the open market, the Cats are in trouble.

G: Stacy Andrews (Cincinnati Bengals)
Andrews started 14 games at right tackle for the Bengals who were ranked second in adjusted sack rate. He'll want tackle money, but when you look at what the guards got last year, I think the gap between guard and right tackle has shrunk a little. Don't be surprised if Andrews gets a contract in the Leonard Davis ballpark. Andrews is 26 and lacks much starting experience, but he's versatile, about to hit his peak years, and has shown enough on the field to be worth the going rate.

G: Rex Hadnot (Miami Dolphins)
Lost in the Miami Dolphins washout of a season was the fine play of their offensive line. 26-year-old Rex Hadnot is a mauler who can also get out and block in space: just the kind of lineman Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano are looking for. All they have to do is re-sign him.

C: Jeff Faine (New Orleans Saints)
Faine ranked second in Yakuza Rich's statistical rankings of centers for 2007 and first for 2006. Think this was somehow a fluke generated by playing in Sean Payton's system? In 2005, Faine's last of three seasons in Cleveland, Faine ranked fifth. The best part: Faine has five years of experience and is still young, as he turns only 27 this April.

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