USA TODAY Sports
This will be a quick look at some of the "bigger name" free agents at the OT & OG positions. I'll be using Pro Football Focus's PBE (Pass Blocking Efficiency) rating to grade pass-protection ability (it's basically % of pass-snaps giving up no pressure, but weighting hits & hurries to .75 (with sacks being 1)), and just their run-blocking grade rank the past 2 seasons (pro-rated to 16 games** IF they played at least 25% of the highest reported snap-count (ie: Gaither didn't either year), otherwise I'll just say their total rank & games played). I'll also look at our own players at those positions (our starting Gs happen to be FA, but not our OTs).
**Only prorating the target player each time & adjusting his rating, not pro-rating all qualifying players, if only for sake of ease of putting this together (I doubt it would make too much a difference however).
Note: even if we weren't changing coaches/systems, I wouldn't know what linemen would or wouldn't fit that system, so I'm examining any good player. Also, it's highly likely the top OL won't even hit the open-market, but I'll still compare them.
First let's look at Gs (since I'm sure most of you want to look at tackles, you're going to have to wait for that :) )
Name - Team - PBE (from '11-12) (rank) - (RBK rank 11, RBK rank 12). Of 44 G examined from 11-12, the highest PBE was 98.6 (Yanda - BAL), and lowest was 94.6 (Snyder, SF/ARI).
Andy Levitre - BUF - 98.2 (T4/44) - ( 23/78 , 39/81)
Ryan Lilja - KC - 96.8 (T27/44) - (27/78, 15th in 3 games)
Brandon Moore (RG) - NYJ - 97.7 (8/44) - (48/78, 5/81)
Tyronne Green - SD - 95.9 (39/44) - (77/78, T46/81)
Thoughts: My gut says BUF won't let Levitre get away, but Moore might want out of NY given the state of the Jets. Even if you don't "hope" his run-play is more like 2012 than 2011, it'd still be an upgrade over the lack of push we get in the middle. Depending on what other moves were made, I'd say he'd be a nice upgrade to the line. (Possible other-move being going T in FA, then drafting the top G, who is known as a fantastic run-blocker).
Onto the OTs
Name - Team - PBE (from '11-12) (rank) - (RBK rank 11, RBK rank 12). Of 57 T examined from 11-12, the highest PBE was 97.7 (Thomas, CLE) and the lowest was 90.6 (Diehl, NYG)
First off, Michael Harris had the worst PBE PFF has ever given out in a single year, so he's off the table entirely. And Gaither's only put together 165 and 130 (pass) snaps the past 2 seasons, so his numbers are highly suspect.
Jared Gaither (roster) - SD - 95.8 (not enough snaps, and was composed of a great 98.6 in 2011, but a terrible 92.3 in 2012 - who knows what we'll get?) - ( 19/76, 10th in just 4 games)
Jeromey Clary (roster) - SD - 93.2 (52/57) - (66/76, 42/80) (run-blocking started out great in 2012, but went down-hill fast).
Andre Smith (RT) - CIN - 95.7 (T14/57, with D'Brick. Ferg. of NYJ) - (31/76, 6/80)
Ryan Clady - DEN - 95.6 (T17/57)** - (73/76, 28/80)
**poor w/Tebow @ QB, great w/Peyton, so it evened out.
Gosder Cherilus (RT) - DET - 95.6 (T17/57) - (61/76, 30/80)
Brandon Albert - KC - 96.5 (5/57) - (27/76, 68/80)
Jake Long - MIA - 95.4 (19/57) - (29/76, 56/80)
Phil Loadholt (RT) - MIN - 94.8 (30/57) - (1/76, 4/80)
Sebastian Vollmer (RT) - NE - 95.8 (11/57) - (2/76**, 20/80)
**pro-rated from just 6 games though
Will Beatty - NYG - 95.1 (24/57)** - (12/76, 5/80)
**was poor in 2011, and higher in 2012 when having a full-time starting role
Thoughts: My gut says almost none of these guys will hit the market - that their teams know the value they have. Jake Long's play the past 2 seasons hasn't been up to the standards of his first 3 seasons, but I think that may make it more likely he sees the market. I also think any of the RTs could be a great grab (Vollmer's played some LT too, but mostly RT the past few seasons), as long as the team has a plan for LT (draft, or dare I say trust Gaither?!).
There's a lot of possible FA/draft move combinations on the table, but I think there's definitely players available to bring out unit from near-bottom to at least middle of the pack (given we were used to having Top-5 offenses with just that, it would be a huge upgrade from where we are now).
If there's any T/G FA you want me to look up PFF-stats for, feel free to say in the comments.