This website is called Hogs Haven in honor of "The Hogs." The Washington Redskins' greatest era centered (pun intended) around their OL and it proved very successful. Like three Super Bowl trophies successful. The C at that time was the famed Jeff Bostic. Maybe that's setting the bar pretty high, but I figure he's what we're aiming for. There probably aren't any Jeff Bostic's in this FA class (Alex Mack, maybe), but we could certainly use an upgrade.
The biggest problem with the OL last year started in the center. Will Montgomery (and his compadres on either side) was letting in defenders left and right. Of course it didn't help that our QB was hobbled and basically the entire rest of the team was pretty garbage, too. No special teams. No defense. It was bad. We used to think, "If only we could upgrade Tyler Polumbus, our OL would be pretty good." That was so 2012. Polumbus looked like a half-way decent lineman last year in comparison to the interior, and that's saying something.
The starter last year was Will Montgomery. The only other potential in-house candidates are Kory Lichtensteiger and Josh LeRibeus (JD Walton is about to be a FA). Monty was drafted in '06 and has been with the 'Skins since '08, making him one of the longer tenured Redskins. He started on the team as a G, but moved to C in '11 and has been there ever since (aside from a couple game period where Licht started due to injury). Lichtensteiger is a highly overpaid OL (thanks Shanny) who was drafted in '08 and came to the 'Skins with Shanny in '10 and has been starting at LG this entire time. He's played C and G in college and in the NFL. There's a chance he's a cap casualty (obviously there's a chance any of our starting OLs are cap casualties aside from TW) due largely to his insane contract. However, if he's kept, he does have some experience at C. LeRibeus has some C experience from his college days and training camp as a rookie, but has been working strictly as a G for a while now and would be a last resort. If he's starting at C for us, well we're probably screwed.
JD Walton was brought on at the end of last season for some reason by Shanny and never played. He'll be a FA very soon and is a candidate to be re-signed if Gruden and co. like him enough and he's healthy. He dislocated his ankle early in the 2012 season while with the Broncos and was placed on IR. They released him and he hasn't played since.
So, we can pretty much all agree that RGIII is one of, if not the most important piece of this puzzle and it's imperative to keep him healthy and protected if we're to have any success as a team. Monty? Licht? Maybe. Maybe not. We'll know by the time training camp roles around. Of course there's always the option of bringing in another vet who could be an upgrade to anyone we have. But you're the GM. What should we do? Here's a few options:
Weight: 308 lbs
The only reason most any NFL fans outside of GB may have heard of this guy is because Ndamukong Suh stepped on him after he allegedly (along with some other Packers) kept untying Suh's shoes. However, he's a pretty decent starting C. He replaced Jeff Saturday during the '12 season and started every game for GB last year. He's a little small (1" shorter than Monty) but still about four lbs heavier. There's a chance the Packers will re-sign him as Aaron Rodgers likes him.
Brian de la Puente, New Orleans Saints
Weight: 306 lbs
BdlP (I'm going to call him that) bounced around between practice squads for his first couple years in the league after being undrafted, but he finally found a home in NO as the starting C in '11. The Saints starting C (Jonathan Goodwin) left the team to go to San Fran and their next starting C (Olin Kreutz) got hurt. That paved the way for BdlP. He's been an anchor of one of the best offensive lines in the league the past couple years. The Saints apparently don't want to overpay to keep him and it's a little curious that they're not trying very hard to re-sign him. He may cost a pretty penny as far as Cs go.
Weight: 300 lbs
Has only been with one team for his entire six-year career. That's usually an indication that a guy is pretty good. He's known as a good run blocker, and had an excellent 2012. But he's coming off of a down year last year and so far the Pats have made no attempt to re-sign him.
Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns
Weight: 311 lbs
Clear-and-away the cream-of-the-crop when it comes to this year's FA C class. He'll probably be out of the Redskins' price range as he'll certainly be the most expensive C (and possibly by nearly twice as much). He's got excellent size for the position and is incredibly durable. He's started every game of his career. PFF has had him as a top 10 C every single year he's been in the league. The Browns have already applied the Transition Tag to him, so they'd have a week to match any offers that come his way from potential suitors. The nice thing about that over the Franchise Tag would be that if they don't match, the team he signs with doesn't have to compensate the Browns with picks. Simply put, he's the best available.
Jonathan Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers
Weight: 318 lbs
Towards the end of last year, Goodwin was contemplating retirement... so there's that. He's getting a bit long in the tooth, but says he wants to keep playing. Of course he'd be nothing more than a relatively inexpensive stopgap for a year or two. The '9ers aren't expected to re-sign him. He was pretty good last year and hasn't missed a start since '08.
Others to Consider:
JD Walton, Washington Redskins, 26 years old, 6'3", 305 lbs