Free Agent O-Linemen Signings
It doesn’t take an expert to understand the impact an offensive line can have on skill position players in fantasy football. Not a believer? Consider this — Andy Dalton scored 120 more fantasy points than Eli Manning last season without any consistent weapons in the passing game outside of A.J. Green. The difference was that the Bengals finished as PFF’s best team in pass protection while the Giants finished as the second-worst.
Here are all of the major offensive line signings and their potential impact.
Eugene Monroe – Baltimore Ravens
As a consistent performer without an injury history, the Ravens prioritized re-signing Monroe and made him the second highest-paid tackle in free agency. Monroe’s game has no weaknesses, but he excels in pass protection, which is great news for Joe Flacco, Torrey Smith, Steve Smith and Dennis Pitta.
Jared Veldheer – Arizona Cardinals
After finishing as the worst team in pass protection in 2013, the Cardinals made finding a tackle to protect Carson Palmer’s blindside their top priority. Although he struggled after attempting to come back from injury in 2013, Veldheer has more upside than any other free agent tackle and past success in 2011 and 2012. Bruce Arians’ vertically attacking offensive system will be more effective with improved pass blocking.
Branden Albert – Miami Dolphins
It was no secret that the Dolphins needed to invest in their offensive line, but making Albert the highest-paid free agent tackle was a risky move. Albert hasn’t been much better than average overall over the last two seasons, but he is still a plus pass blocker — this is great news for Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace.
Anthony Collins – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In a savvy move, the Buccaneers got their rebuilding project started by releasing Donald Penn and signing Anthony Collins. Collins has a smaller sample size, but he has been dominant in pass protection when given the chance.
Rodger Saffold – St. Louis Rams
In a bizarre series of events, Saffold had left the Rams to sign with the Raiders before coming back to the Rams after the Raiders voided his contract. In any case, the Rams will likely use Saffold at guard again where he paved the way for several big games for Zac Stacy in 2013.
Michael Oher – Tennessee Titans
A rare first-round miss for general manager Ozzie Newsome, Oher has gotten progressively worse in every season since his rookie year. This signing should not have a major impact on the Titans’ run or pass game.
Breno Giacomini – New York Jets
Giacomini serves as a cheaper replacement for Austin Howard as the Jets’ starting right tackle in 2014. Putting aside concerns with penalties and injuries, he should provide a boost to the Jets’ running game and a subtraction from their pass protection.
Austin Howard – Oakland Raiders
The Raiders paid Howard as much money to play right tackle as the Buccaneers paid Collins to man the blind side. Howard’s 2013 season was not as successful as the year before, but he remains a great pass protector on the right side with the size and youth to improve.
Geoff Schwartz – New York Giants
The Giants needed to improve their interior offensive line, and they signed the best guard on the market to do so. Schwartz weighs in at 340 pounds and has performed as one of the best run-blocking guards since entering the league. He is no slouch in pass protection, and his past experience at tackle is very important to an offensive line under construction.
Jon Asamoah – Atlanta Falcons
Pass protection was a major issue for the Falcons in 2013, and bringing in Asamoah should help improve their interior protection. Asamoah is strong in both areas, but his run blocking is king, which is great news for Steven Jackson.
Zane Beadles – Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars essentially just traded guard Uche Nwaneri for Zane Beadles. Beadles had a strong season in 2012, but he has only finished as a “plus” guard once in his career. Don’t expect this move to improve the Jaguars’ run-blocking, and it might only be a slight upgrade for their pass protection.
Shelley Smith – Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins finished rebuilding the left side of their offensive line by adding Smith. He was one of the most dominant run-blocking guards last season, and this is great news for Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas.
Evan Dietrich-Smith – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers upgrade their interior line by adding Dietrich-Smith, who had an outstanding 2013 season. Dietrich-Smith is a bit undersized and he is best in pass protection.
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