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More 2019 free agents: Another look at Offensive Guards

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Sisyphus feels sorry for Redskins fans, who hope that this will be the year when the front office finally plugs the hole at left guard

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NFL: Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Interior Offensive linemen from the 2018 Redskins roster who are set to become free agents in March:

  • Ty Nsekhe
  • Shawn Lauvao
  • Tony Bergstrom
  • Jonathan Cooper
  • Luke Bowanko
  • Zac Kerin
  • Ari Kouandjio

This is an amazing number of interior linemen to have hit free agency all at once. It is a product of the chewing gum, chicken wire and band aid approach to fielding an offensive unit that the Redskins were forced to adopt in 2018. Somewhere in that list of names, the Redskins may have the starting left guard who can carry the team through 16 games this season.

Still, there are two other sources of starting left guards — the April draft, and veteran free agency, which begins this year on 13 March.

Riggo’s Rag is interested in the topic of free agent guards

About a month ago, Jacob Camenker, writing on Fansided, published an article highlighting 3 Offensive Guards that the Redskins could look at in free agency to fill the gaping hole on the left side of the offensive line between Chase Roullier and Trent Williams.

Here are the three players he recommended:

A.J. Cann, Jaguars

  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 315
  • Age: 27
  • NFL Entry: 2015 3rd round

The Redskins haven’t valued the guard position much in recent offseasons. They have taken a chance on athletic players in the past like Shawn Lauvao in hopes that they can turn into quality starters. If they take a chance on a player again, A.J. Cann could be an interesting pickup.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Jacksonville Jaguars Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Cann was an early third-round pick by the Jaguars in the 2015 NFL Draft. The South Carolina Gamecock almost immediately became a starter with Jacksonville and in 60 career games over four years, he has made 59 starts. Getting a player with that type of experience is usually a good thing, especially considering that Cann is just 27 years old.

However, Cann has merely been an average player for the Jaguars. He graded out as the No. 45 guard overall last season per Pro Football Focus. That makes him a fine starter, but again, he is nothing special. Any team signing him would have to be replacing a worse player. And in this case, the Redskins are doing just that.

Obviously, Camenker isn’t giving us the hard sell on Cann. I remember from one of the inane draft prediction contests that I sponsored in the past, that A.J. Cann was a popular name for Hogs Haven readers trying their hand at fortune-telling for the ‘15 draft.

[H]e had his worst performance in pass protection last year, surrendering 6.5 sacks on the season. Of course, it’s worth noting that he was working with Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler at quarterback, but the Redskins will also have marginal quarterbacks starting in 2019. So, this would be the one concern with adding Cann.

Cann still has some upside and is better than the players the Redskins marched out to the position last year. For those reasons alone, he will intrigue them. That said, they can’t make the mistake of throwing a lot of money at him and viewing him as an above-average player. He can be trusted as a starter and fit in as a part of a strong unit, but the team should look to get him on the cheap if they decide not to pay up for one of the better options at the position.

Ramon Foster, Steelers

  • Height: 6’5”
  • Weight: 328
  • Age: 33
  • NFL Entry: Undrafted, 2009

If the Redskins are looking for a combination of experience and discipline, Foster may be the best addition the team could make.

Ramon Foster has long been a starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers. During his Steelers career, he has been the starter for 131 games since breaking in with the team in 2009. He has been an unsung hero for the Pittsburgh squad and has started at least 14 games in every season since 2011.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Foster is a well-rounded player, but he is particularly good as a pass blocker. He finished with Pro Football Focus‘ seventh-highest pass blocking grade among guards with a mark of 84.5. And when watching Foster play, it’s clear that he is great at keeping the pocket clean.

Okay, I’m feeling the love a little more for Foster, and I’m even buying that the guy has some skill.

But he would instantly be the oldest starter on the offensive line. Honestly, I’d much rather see the Redskins draft a guy at left guard who can play the position for the next eight or ten years than grab a 33-year-old, no matter how talented, to get through the 2019 season.

He is a disciplined player that doesn’t make many mistakes. That would appeal greatly to the Redskins, especially considering the issues that right tackle Morgan Moses had with penalties last season (14).

All good, but I diverge from Camenker when it comes to the bottom-line analysis:

If the Redskins can land Foster on a discounted three-year deal to play next to Trent Williams, that would be a good move. He will probably get a deal in the $6-$8 million annual range, so if they can get a deal like that with lower guarantees, that will make Foster a great option for the ‘Skins.

I would see a $7m deal for Foster as representing about $5.5m wasted, and another season lost in the journey to finally “fix” the LG position in the Redskins offense.

Mark Glowinski, Colts

Oops! As noted in the comments section, Glowinski has already re-signed with the Colts.

  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 310
  • Age: 26
  • NFL Entry: 2015 4th round

About a month ago, I published my own look at fpur offensive linemen that the Redskins should consider, and came away feeling like the best fit — in my opinion, the best veteran guard option for the Redskins currently due to become a free agent in March — was Glowinski.

Here’s what I wrote in that previous article:

With Braden Smith, drafted in the second round last year, ahead of Glowinski on the depth chart for 2019, the 27-year-old free agent might well go looking elsewhere for an opportunity to start.

He has played both left and right guard for the Seahawks and Colts, so he has the type of flexibility that would make him valuable to the Redskins, who may not be able to rely on Scherff’s health early in the ‘19 season, and need a reliable player to plug in between Chase Roullier and Trent Williams.

I don’t expect Glowinski to be paid as a top-tier guard in 2019. He had an incentive-laden one-year contract for $1.9m in 2018. Of course, he is likely to be looking for a bigger payday in free agency this off-season, but should be available on a very “affordable” contract.

Glowinski could be exactly what the Redskins need in 2019 — a veteran guard capable of playing on the right or the left, with playoff experience and a contract that won’t break the bank.

NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s compare that to Jacob Camenker’s thoughts on the same player (whom he rated as his top pick out of the three players he highlighted):

Mark Glowinski was one of the breakout players for the Colts this year. After being claimed off waivers from the Seahawks, Glowinski really became a strong part of the Colts’ starting lineup. He didn’t break in until Week 6, but once he did, he was rock solid.

Glowinski, a former fourth-round pick, improved greatly as a run blocker, and that really was his calling card. He ended up ranking seventh among guards in run blocking during the season, and he is part of the reason that Marlon Mack improved upon being reinstated as the starter at running back. Glowinski also helped the team’s offensive line go from worst to first in terms of sacks allowed, as he helped plug the Colts’ hole that had existed at right guard for a number of years.

There are some minor concerns about Glowinski in terms of signing a long-term contract. The first is that he only has had one quality season as a starter. He has a good deal of experience from his time with the Seahawks, but he only really put it all together in 2018. So, teams will have to ensure that this wasn’t just a flash in the pan, but he is still just 26 years old and with good coaching, he could improve.

Glowinski would be a good fit with the Redskins. He could plug in as the starter at left guard, and he would add a more athletic presence to the line and he could serve well as a pulling guard. If they can get him for roughly $8 million per year over two or three years, that would be a nice value and would fix one of the team’s biggest problem spots.

All in all, I’d say that Jacob and I share the opinion that Glowinski could be just what the doctor ordered for the ‘Skins if they want to try to solve their problem in the free agent market, though Camenker puts quite a bit more emphasis on the fact that Glowinski only has 2018 to point to as a ‘breakout’ season. In other words, he doesn’t have a track record of consistency.

For my part, I like his age and his likely contract terms, but — like Camenker — I wonder if Glowinski might be tempted to just stay with the Colts.

It’s unclear if Glowinski would want to leave Indianapolis, but it is possible. With the departure of Colts offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo, Glowinski could also try to follow him depending on where he lands.... Glowinski is arguably the top free agent guard option that the Redskins could realistically consider and afford if they don’t want to spend an early-round pick on a replacement.

Poll

What’s the best option at starting LG for the Redskins in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Glowinski or another free agent
    (86 votes)
  • 59%
    A 3rd or 5th round draft pick
    (328 votes)
  • 16%
    A 1st or 2nd round draft pick
    (93 votes)
  • 7%
    Look to the 2018 roster - Laovao, Cooper, Nsekhe, Kuandjio, Catalina — there’s a starter in there somewhere, already.
    (41 votes)
548 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Rate A.J. Cann as a veteran free agent prospect at guard for the Redskins

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Five stars
    (2 votes)
  • 9%
    Four stars
    (38 votes)
  • 44%
    Three stars
    (176 votes)
  • 34%
    Two stars
    (136 votes)
  • 6%
    One star
    (27 votes)
  • 4%
    Absolute zero
    (18 votes)
397 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Rate Ramon Foster as a veteran free agent prospect at guard for the Redskins

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Five stars
    (9 votes)
  • 20%
    Four stars
    (76 votes)
  • 33%
    Three stars
    (125 votes)
  • 23%
    Twp stars
    (86 votes)
  • 13%
    One star
    (49 votes)
  • 7%
    Absolute zero
    (28 votes)
373 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Rate Mark Glowinski as a veteran free agent prospect at guard for the Redskins

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Five stars
    (28 votes)
  • 31%
    Four stars
    (103 votes)
  • 22%
    Three stars
    (74 votes)
  • 8%
    Two stars
    (29 votes)
  • 2%
    One star
    (7 votes)
  • 26%
    Absolute zero
    (88 votes)
329 votes total Vote Now