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5 left tackles who could be on the trade block

San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Alex Boone (75), offensive tackle Joe Staley (74) and quarterback Blaine Gabbert (2) against the Atlanta Falcons during an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

With a thin free agent market for left tackles and only two tackles slated for the (late) first round, the Minnesota Vikings may have to get creative to fix their offensive line. One way to do that: Trade.

Teams are rarely willing to part ways with a left tackle on the trade market, but there are several players who either play for rebuilding teams, have an unmanageable cap hit or will be usurped by a younger player.

Cleveland Browns, Joe Thomas

Pro Football Focus rank: 5th

2017 cap hit: $10 million

Trade winds have calmed since the deadline last season, but the logic behind a Thomas move still remains: He is 32, under contract through 2018 and plays for a team that has just started a full rebuild. For whatever reason, Thomas has wanted to stick it out with the Browns, but he is already on the other side of his prime and has never been on a legitimately competitive team. Cleveland is not under any particular pressure to deal him as they have the most cap room of any team in the NFL. We saw the Browns trade for draft picks last year, would they do it again?

Philadelphia Eagles, Jason Peters

Pro Football Focus rank: 6th

2017 cap hit: $11.7 million

OverTheCap.com estimates that the Eagles have just over $7 million in cap space heading into this offseason, meaning they will be desperate for ways to create more money to spend. Releasing Peters or reworking his deal are also options, but letting a top-10 tackle walk is not ideal and Peters only ended up in Philadelphia because of a contract dispute with the Buffalo Bills way back when. Would a second-round pick get the job done?

San Francisco 49ers, Joe Staley

Pro Football Focus rank: 25th

2017 cap hit: $11.1 million

Staley is still a quality player, but he is 32 years old and has a contract that runs through 2019. That might not be idea for the 49ers, who have to tear it all down and build from scratch.

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New York Jets, Ryan Clady

Pro Football Focus rank: 41st

2017 cap hit: $10 million

Reports have been out that the Jets could part ways with Clady after an injury kept him out for about half of last season. With just one more year on his deal, Gang Green might join the 49ers and Browns in a rebuilding endeavor and cut ties with anything that isn’t nailed down. While Clady’s play has faded with age, the price might only be a late-round pick as opposed to a valuable asset.

Miami Dolphins, Branden Albert

Pro Football Focus rank: 57th

2017 cap hit: $10.6 million

 

This season was the runaway worst of Albert’s career as his PFF score dropped from a 77.0 in 2015 to 42.2 in 2016. Some of that may have been caused by a wrist injury. Local analysts have been calling for the team to cut Albert because of his huge cap hit, but it would cost the team $3.6 million in dead money to release him. Miami would be better off finding a trade partner.

 

  • Andre Esters

    Seems like many “fans” are ready to string up Spielman this offseason, but thankfully Minnesota is not the only team that will try to wheel and deal their way into 2017…

    Calling Miami and NYJ could save on top tier trade commodity, but taking on injuries and questions on performance could be harsh by mid-season.
    Opening the lines back up with Philly and SanFran could be favorable, but we all know the Eagles will happily try to rob the Vikes again. 49ers could be a lot easier to approach with all new staff coming into the fold.
    As for Cleveland, they got a wiley GM who would likely try to pull a Philly move and expose Minnesota for a need and gain some extra extra picks.

    Either way, Spielman needs to be on the phone, emailing, texting, asking about holidays, sending cards, he really needs to knock it out of the GM park this offseason.

    • Matt Coller

      You’re right, Andre. It seems hard to picture the Vikings being able to fill both tackle spots in free agency, so they will have to get creative

    • brian199511

      It is this year or maybe next to win it all or we should reconsider the leadership of Spielman. I would be stunned if he didn’t agree.

  • GordonGekko

    CLEV’s only incentive to trade Thomas is for a high pick(s) otherwise they will keep him because they have lots of cap space. Peters is on his last leg, he leads the league in false starts and it’s getting worse, but he is a border line HOF LT, the Eagles won’t release him but will redo his contract for more cap space. Although, they could trade Peters since they locked up RT Lane Johnson to a big contract to replace Peters, they also have Vatai to replace Johnson at the RT position. Staley is better than what they had, but at what price.

    • Matt Coller

      You’re right about Peters losing a step. His PFF ranking was probably helped by how quickly the Eagles were having Wentz get the ball out, too. Of course, even if he drops off a bit, it’s a major upgrade with only a year of real commitment.

  • Joe Christman

    People forget how bad the roster was only 3 years ago. Spielman has done a great job. I think the line need younger linemen. Players like Mike Remmers, Riley Reiff or a Byron Bell that are 27-28 and not i their 30’s. Give Kalil another shot but at a reduced rate. Draft a tackle and have him compete.

    • Dooger Martin

      Do you think Kalil would sign at a reduced rate…I don’t think he would.

      • Joe Christman

        I would think he doesn’t have much choice. Battling several injuries over the years I don’t think the market value is very high for him. He said he wants to come back. I doubt a team throws a big offer to him, I think his best option is here.

      • Matt Coller

        It’s possible. He’s become a Minnesota guy and doesn’t have a ton of leverage with his performance the last few years + the injury. But it only takes one team to make a big swing.

    • MarkWatts

      Rick Spielman has been here for a long time and helped create that bad roster.

      • Gordon Guffey

        How quickly people forget about the TOA ~ Better knows as the Triangle Of Authority ~
        Rick didn’t have any real say unless he agreed with Chilly and Rob Brzezinski and then it was Frazier and Rob Brzezinski he had to deal with ~ Spielman held 1/3 of the voting power ~ This is why I get tickled when fans try and blame him for the drafting of Ponder ~

        It wasn’t until 2013 that Spielman had full say on anything related to the Vikings ~

        And lets not forget that it was Rob Brzezinski that was the acting jack GM when Red owned the team ~ Some of the worse talent this team has ever seen in those seasons ~

        Brzezinski and Frazier where stripped of their powers in the 2013 season ~

        • MarkWatts

          Rick Spielman took over as GM in 2012

          • Gordon Guffey

            OK its official ~ I’m shutting up about the past ~ LOL

        • MarkWatts

          “This is why I get tickled when fans try and blame him for the drafting of Ponder”

          He’s already blamed himself, no need to rewrite history.

          Rick Spielman Takes Full Responsibility for Christian Ponder Pick
          https://thevikingage.com/2014/05/06/rick-spielman-takes-full-responsibility-christian-ponder-pick/

          • Matt Coller

            When it comes to drafting quarterbacks, I never want to criticize a GM for doing it. The Seahawks were mocked for taking Wilson, and there were major questions about Aaron Rodgers coming out. You never know which guy will turn out.

          • Gordon Guffey

            Dang I stand corrected again ~ Good work MarkWatts ~ cka2nd go me earlier on something ~ Thats twice over the last couple of days ~ The only thing I can think of is the VA has been messing with some of my meds ~ That or I’m just to dang old to be talking about the past cause I haven’t done very well the last couple of days ~ LOL

    • Matt Coller

      Drafting one is interesting. The last two 4th rounders they’ve tried have gone bust. If you take one in the 2nd round, that guy could possibly start, but might have some growing pains along the way and there’s opportunities to take a player who could impact the team right away like an RB or WR. It’ll be interesting to see which way they go.

  • Gordon Guffey

    Outside of the top 3 I dont really see any improvement for the Vikings while losing draft picks and cap space ~ And I’m not sure I would give up more than a 3rd for those top 3 because of age ~ It could be a bigger chance than resigning Kalil if his hip passes the checkup and is given the OK to play ~ Its a chance either way ~ Clemmings is a OG at best while I wasn’t as disappointed with Sirles at right OT as some where over the last 5 games ~

    However with Shurmur as the OC holding the ball when the QB is no longer dropping back 5 or 7 steps on every pass play and run blocking being just as important I’m sure the Vikings will be able to improve their OL ~

    At worse they can load up inside and move Boone to either left or right OT according to most where it has been said he played good to well ~ If Kalil is healthy and he is willing to sign a prove it contract fair to both side then they could have Kalil at left OT and Boone at right OT ~

    Or they could keep Berger at right OG spots and give Easton the Center job where I thought he played well for a 2 year player making his first starts after being on the PS until this year ~ And sign a really good true left OG ~ While Berger played well at left OG he has always been much better at right OG and has said as much himself ~ Or they could sign 2 really good OG’s and keep Berger at Center while giving Easton another year to prove he can be the guy in the middle ~

    ((( To really improve the OL health is going to be the key ~ And while I love posting reply’s to stories here I’m quite happy to set back and watch how this all plays out ~ Its a past time and by no means do I know what I’m talking about ~ I do believe that Spielman and Zimmer will do as much as they can to make sure Shurmur has everything he needs to make his offense go ~ Otherwise according to some on here
    >>> sports writers and fans <<< they could all be out of a job in 2018 thought I'm not one of them ~ )))

    • Dooger Martin

      Left Tackles are at a premium, why would Kalil sign a prove it deal?

      • Scott Mitchell

        He has been injured a lot lately. My guess is that his market value has shrunk as a result. He has also said he wants to stay. So an incentive laden deal is a win win.

      • Gordon Guffey

        Outside of his rookie year when he made the Pro Bowl he was bothered with knee problems and had to have surgery on both of them in back to back season ~ While he didn’t miss a snap his play fell off ~ 2016 was the first year he missed playing time with a back injury and he was placed on IR while having to have surgery once again ~ Its a risk forsure ~ However he is only 27 ~ His injury was the same thing that Matt Birk so its not like its a big deal other than time missed ~ Lumbar I think ~
        Like I said he would have to get the OK to play from team doctors and trainers for sure ~ But like I have said many times here I have never been a HC or a talent scout ~ So I guessing a long with everyone else ~ Smiley Face 🙂

      • Pat Barclay

        I don’t think he will. There will be enough teams looking for a left tackle that Kalil won’t have to sign a “prove it” deal. That said, he has graded out to no better than an average LT, so he isn’t going to break the bank either, and his recent injuries may also cost him some money.

  • Gordon Guffey

    Just some food for thought while we have all bashed the OL ~
    http://www.vikings.com/news/article-1/3-Offensive-Stats-that-Vikings-Improved-2-to-Target/1c2e9415-a7d6-448a-a512-3dab44fff26d

    3 Stats that Improved

    Interception Rate
    Bradford threw just five interceptions in his 15 games as a starter, while backup quarterback Shaun Hill didn’t throw any in his lone start, a Week 1 win over Tennessee. That gave the Vikings an interception rate of 0.85 percent (five picks in 588 pass attempts), the second-best mark in the league behind New England. Minnesota’s interception rate in 2015 was 1.98 percent, good for 12th in the league.

    Passing Yards
    Bradford and Hill combined to throw for 4,119 yards, with Bradford setting a career high with 3,877 yards. The Vikings passed for 3,246 yards in 2015 with Bridgewater and Hill under center. Minnesota did throw the ball 134 more times in 2016 than it did the previous season.

    Sack Percentage
    The increased pass attempts also meant an increased chance for sacks. But despite having 12 different players line up somewhere along the offensive line, the Vikings improved their sacks-allowed-per-pass-attempt percentage in 2016. Minnesota gave up a sack on 6.46 percent of dropbacks in 2016 compared to 9.91 percent the previous season. The Vikings improved from 31st in 2015 to 23rd in the NFL this season.

    • Pat Barclay

      But the reason the sack percentage went down is that most of the pass plays called were for very short passes, and Bradford got them off quickly and accurately. They didn’t dare try to go downfield much because of the difficulty the line had in protecting Bradford for more than a couple of seconds. So that, combined with the difficulty in getting any push in the run game, still adds up to the fact that the OL was a trainwreck all year. Don’t be fooled by the sack percentage stat.

      • Gordon Guffey

        O I totally agree Pat ~ However if you go look up the stats for the final 5 or 6 games Bradford was getting more time to throw past that 10 yard mark ~ Thats because IMHO ((( and based on what I have read and the videos from viking.com ))) Sparano was allowed to tinker with the blocking scheme ~

        I really dont believe we have any idea what the Vikings need along the OL until Shurmur installs his offense and his blocking scheme ~ We fans may very shocked by some of the FA OL they sign in FA or draft ~

        Based on everything coming out of late this was still very much Norv’s and his son Scott’s offense and OL coach Sparano was not allowed to make any changes to the blocking scheme that Norv installed 3 years ago ~ It wasn’t until Shurmur took over and Zimmer said there was very little change in the offense after Norv left ~

        Bottom like is I really don’t have a idea what the Vikings need on the OL ~ But like you said they need to fix that train-wreck you talked about ~ I seen OL being added in FA and the draft ~

  • G Rock

    Thomas for sure, he has familiarity with Shurmur from his time in Cleveland. Trade for Joe, sign Reiff for the right side, and Zietler from the Bengals and our o line is nasty

  • cka2nd

    I’d trade a mixture of 2016 and 2017 draft picks for Thomas, Peters or Staley. Something like a 2016 #3 and 2017 #2 for Thomas and a bit less for either Staley or Peters, who’s three years their senior. Albert might be worth a fifth-, sixth- or seventh-round pick to compete at or back-up both OT positions.

    Spielman should have made a trade to replace Kalil last Spring. Kalil had had three years to get back to his rookie level of play and had failed to do so, even after he was supposed to have returned to full health. Thomas has never missed a season. Peters, Albert and Clady have all had Pro Bowl seasons before and after major injuries, while Staley was an established starter before losing half of two seasons and then made five straight Pro Bowls. One good rookie year, three awful years and one year lost to injury should give us all absolutely zero confidence that Kalil will play well in 2017, let alone any of the years after. It is past time to cut the cord, even if it means replacing him with a player five or eight years his elder.

  • Matt Coller

    Many good thoughts in this comment section. Appreciate you all taking the time to read and leave your opinions here.





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