FanShot

Key Free Agents: Offensive Lineman

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1) Willie Colon (T/Pittsburgh), RFA*: Last year, the Steelers tagged Max Starks as their franchise player, then eventually negotiated a long-term deal to the tune of four years and $26.3 million. Colon is a four-year starter at right tackle and -- some Pittsburgh coaches believe -- maybe the team's best lineman. The franchise number this year is nearly $8.5 million. Unfortunately for Colon, with the uncapped-year rules, he'll probably make around $2.5 million under his tender. 2) Jamaal Brown (T/New Orleans), RFA*: The former first-round draft choice and two-time Pro Bowl selection went on injured reserve (sports hernia) in September and watched an unknown fellow named Jermon Bushrod do the blindside thing for Drew Brees, as the Saints rolled to the Super Bowl. Before that, Brown had started 58 straight games at left tackle, dating to his 2005 rookie season. The Saints, with more than 20 players facing some form of free agency, have some decisions to make. 3) Jahri Evans (G/New Orleans), RFA*: This is not one of those decisions. Evans is one of the best interior lineman in the game, having been voted to his second straight Pro Bowl. His one-year tender will be in the $3 million range, but the Saints need not mess around -- lock him up long term. 4) Marcus McNeill (T/San Diego), RFA*: Two years ago, McNeill was close to signing a nice contract extension, but talks broke off after he injured his neck. The Chargers should know they were fortunate to find a franchise-type left tackle in the second round of the '06 draft. 5) Chad Clifton (T/Green Bay), UFA: He had Brett Favre's back for eight years and has done the same for Aaron Rodgers the last two. Clifton is not the lock-down force he was in his 20s -- he's 33 now -- but if the Packers don't want to re-sign him (they might have another option with backup T.J. Lang, a promising rookie last season), someone will. 6) Logan Mankins (G/New England), RFA*: Two-time Pro Bowler not only has been terrific since being selected with the final choice in Round 1 in '05, he's been durable. Mankins has started every game during those five seasons.

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