NFL Free Agent Pool Suddenly Saturated with Guard Talent

Photo: Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports

We all know the many holes currently lining an otherwise talented Minnesota Vikings roster, as we gear up for the NFL free agency which starts on March 17.

It’s an interesting offseason, given that teams across the league are shedding salary anywhere and everywhere they can, in a desperate effort to get under the $180 million 2021 salary cap, down about $20 million from last season due to revenue losses caused by COVID-19.

In order to do anything in free agency, the Vikings will have to find cap relief for themselves but that’s something that can be accomplished in a multitude of ways. There are contracts across the roster that are ripe to be re-done. I’ve written about doing so with Harrison Smith, Riley Reiff, Danielle Hunter and Kirk Cousins but there are others.

On Guard!

The Minnesota Vikings desperately need help on the interior of their offensive line, specifically left guard (as long as they keep Riley Reiff around). If Spielman can fill that interior gap, excuses for anything but an explosive and consistent offense would be hard to find.

Defense is another story that we’ll worry about that another day. After what happened across the league today, it’s a good time to be in the market for a guard that’s affordable but hopefully not over-the-hill.

Player (Guard)AgeGGS’20 Cap Hit2020 GS’20 PFF
James Carpenter31127121$5.1M13/13 (ATL)56.1
Joe Thuney288080$14.8M16/16 (NE)74.2
Gabe Jackson2910099$9.6M16/16 (LV)63.7
Lane Taylor317950$2.4M1/1 (GB)81.6
Austin Blythe287149$3.9M16/16 (LAR)69.3
Brian Winters2910588$3.0M9/16 (BUF)54.6
Kyle Long327776NANAN/A

As discussed previously and pointed out by multiple NFL agents, 2021 isn’t the year to fight for every dollar you’re worth, especially for talent that sits in the middle or bottom tiers of the NFL.

Could we see one of the guys listed above take a prove-it deal with the Vikings, in hopes of a big payday in the 2022 offseason? Most of the guys listed above aren’t going to find a deal much better than that…

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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