As a premium is placed on pass rush and teams are looking to get more push up the middle (thanks to what Malik Jackson has done in Denver), it will become even more important to protect quarterbacks, especially up the middle.
As free agency approaches, several guards are poised to get paid.
With the Ravens using the franchise tag on kicker Justin Tucker, Osemele will land on the market, absent a new deal before then. Which means that the market will determine his value. The Ravens could end up being the ones to pay him, and maybe he’ll take less than he could get elsewhere to stay put. But it’s clear that Osemele will be cashing in, soon.
Others on the PFT Hot 100 stand to land potentially big money, including 49ers guard Alex Boone, Texans guard Brandon Brooks, Bills guard Richie Incognito, Chiefs guard Jeff Allen, Broncos guard Evan Mathis, and Seahawks guard J.R. Sweezy. (The Saints previously cut guard Jahri Evans, making him a free agent now.)
Also potentially cashing in will be a guy who didn’t make the Hot 100: Steelers guard Ramon Foster (pictured). Though he didn’t make the cut, a demand for his services will exist, in a significant way. It’s unknown whether the Steelers will make a big push to keep him; others could be making a big push to land him.
So once the market open and teams realize that there aren’t enough pass rushers to go around, maybe that money will go to the guys entrusted to secure the middle of the pocket.