Not all the free agents are pro bowlers and expensive all-pros. Championship teams are built with smaller names who bring more to the table than their contracts clogs the salary cap. This season, teams going after Chris Clemons, Antohny Collins, Toby Gerhart and Geoff Schwartz will probably be making the smartest moves.
With the NFL being a copycat league, the Seattle Seahawks’ way of building – trying to find gems in the draft and signing less than super-expensive players in free agency will probably be the trend this year, making these guys even more valuabel than before.
Chris Clemons, Safety
Clemons will be 29 when next season begins, and after surprisingly not getting a lot of interest last year, forcing him to sign on a one-year deal with the Dolphins, he’ll be a bit more popular this time around. The NFL is a copycat league, and watching the Seahawks succeed with Earl Thomas a centerpole in their defense will help Clemons’ coverage skills bring him a better, bigger contract this time around, although nothing that will scare teams away from him.
Anthony Collins, Offensive Tackle
Collins isn’t going to be one of the higher paid tackles in this class like Branden Albert or Eugene Monroe, but stepping up and filling in the left tackle role for 7 starts, giving the Bengals a big boost in their protection and offensive line, will him more money in his next conract. He is only 28 without any injury concerns, and will offer a lot for teams who aren’t interested too much in run blocking, focusing mostly on his ability in pass protection. As always, there are plenty of teams who need a good tackle who can be moved around the line.
Toby Gerhart, Running Back
We’ve written a time or two about Gerhart picking up a lot of interest aroudn the league. A backup quarterback with experience but very few miles on his legs, and a 7.9 yards per carry season playing behind Adrian Peterson. He isn’t going to be expensive and while he might not be your classing every-down back, there’s more than enough reasons to make him a guy who carries the ball 10-15 times a game.
Geoff Schwartz, Guard
Schwartz moved from the Vikings to the Chiefs last season, and despite making only $700,000 he quickly took over the starting spot from Jon Asamoah, becoming the team’s starting right guard. There isn’t a lot of finesse and sophistication to his game. He’s a big mauler of a guy who comes in really helpful in the running game, having a big part in Jamaal Charles’ big year.