Top unrestricted free agent offensive linemen:
1. Chad Clifton: He turns 34 in June and was a difference-making pass protector on Aaron Rodgers’ blind side when healthy last season. Clifton should be viewed as a stopgap left tackle for a team breaking in young blood.
2. Bobbie Williams: Williams is 33, but has missed just three games over the last six seasons while excelling as both a pass and run blocker in Cincinnati’s power scheme. The 345-pounder will appeal to smash-mouth teams.
3. Stephen Neal: Though injury prone and turning 34, the former wrestling champion remains an impact run blocker for the . Agent Neil Cornrich has disputed rumors of Neal’s impending retirement.
4. Tony Pashos: Still a brute run blocker, Pashos started all but one game between 2006-2008 before missing nearly all of ’09 with a fractured shoulder. Washington will pursue him.
5. Mark Tauscher: Signed off the street last October, Tauscher supplanted Allen Barbre and went on to start eight games, protecting admirably. Turning 33 in June, Tauscher should also be better a year removed from ACL surgery.
6. Jeremy Bridges: Bridges held up in difficult matchups when forced into Arizona’s lineup at left tackle. The 30-year-old can also play guard.
7. Mike Gandy: The 31-year-old still could offer value as a swing tackle/guard.
8. Wade Smith – A utility lineman, Smith earned praise from Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star for his solid 2009 play.
Restricted free agents that are unlikely to change teams:
Jammal Brown, Tyson Clabo, Jeromey Clary, Willie Colon, Harvey Dahl, Jahri Evans, Jared Gaither, Stephon Heyer, Charlie Johnson, Taitusi Lutui, Logan Mankins, Marcus McNeill, Donald Penn, Lyle Sendlein, Jason Spitz, Marshal Yanda.
Interesting names that could get cut:
1. Flozell Adams, Cowboys: Adams’ release has been hinted at by the Dallas Morning News due to a $7.5 million salary in his age-35 season. Most likely, however, he’ll get another year.
2. Kareem McKenzie, Giants: Giants 2009 second-rounder William Beatty may have made the suddenly injury-prone right tackle expendable.
3. Matt Light, Patriots: New England’s left tackle was outplayed by rookie Sebastian Vollmer last season and is due $4.5 million.
4. Randy Thomas, Redskins: The 34-year-old guard missed virtually all of 2009 with a torn triceps and may not fit new Redskins coach Mike Shanahan’s scheme.
5. The Andrews brothers, Eagles: Neither Stacy nor Shawn was a factor last season in Philadelphia, and both are overpaid.