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Free agent linemen

Good year to be looking for OL help

There are some big-name wide receivers headed for free agency; tight end, too. Those looking for quarterbacks and running backs are probably looking at the NFL Draft. With offensive linemen, there looks to be some talent available at the top of the draft, but there are also some really good players in free agency. And more every day.

Salary cap realities, and the number of veterans whose contracts are expiring, makes for a really appealing group of potential difference-makers along the line. Here are the 10 best available, so far.

Trent Williams. After a two-year odyssey in Washington, Williams escaped to San Francisco, and is now hitting the open market. He's 33, which is old for most NFL players but we've seen elite tackles play at a high level into their late 30s. He'll be the prize of free agency, for those seeking blindside protectors.

Corey Linsley. Teams that need a center will probably have Linsley atop their list. He's been starting in Green Bay for the last seven years, but picked a nice time to have his first All-Pro season. The Packers could potentially bring him back, but they've been relatively quiet on what they'll actually do; I've seen reports saying they're expected to let him go, as well as ones indicating they'll re-sign him. Letting him go seems to be the more likely scenario.

Brandon Scherff. Scherff hasn't played 16 games in a season since 2016, so there's some injury risk there. He's missed 18 games over the past four seasons. But he was an All-Pro guard last year anyway, and someone will take on the injury concerns to gamble on the 29-year-old's talent.

Joe Thuney. Thuney played last year on the franchise tag, and that's a possibility again in New England. But I've also seen reports that New England will trust in its ability to develop mid-round picks and let Thuney sign for big money elsewhere. He surely will if not franchised.

Daryl Williams. Williams was a solid tackle in Carolina whose tenure there was cut short in part due to injury. But he started all 16 games and played at a high level for Buffalo last year. He's only 28, and might be the best right tackle on the market.

Gabe Jackson. The Raiders released him last week. He turns 30 in July and was set to make close to $10 million. Not an elite guard, but probably an above-average one who shouldn't struggle to find employment.

Trai Turner, Andrew Norwell, Kevin Zeitler. Listing these three together since none is currently a free agent, but all three are reportedly available for trade, and all three may or will be released. Injuries, big contracts, age -- there are issues. But one or maybe all three will wind up signing one-year, prove-it deals with new teams, maybe in better offenses than what Zeitler and Norwell have been laboring in with the Giants and Jaguars.

Richie Incognito. Also released by the Raiders last week, Incognito turns 38 in July and played in only 2 games last season. He might need to wait until after the draft to land a deal, but he'll probably be starting somewhere in 2021.

Other players are on the trade block, or will be cap casualties. I've seen reports that this week will be a virtual bloodbath of veterans being cut. Big money might not be there, but there are a lot of big names and good players who will be available to sign with new teams. It's going to be a busy couple of weeks.

--Andy Richardson

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