A week into the opening of free agency negotiations, most of the marquee names on the open market are signed to deals. However, what available players make sense for the NFL’s West Coast teams?
Here is a free agency addition for the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers.
Granted, any of these teams could pursue any of these players on the list. Nonetheless, the below moves make sense based on price and team need.
Los Angeles Rams
Center Nick Mangold
The Los Angeles Rams already proved willing to splurge on the offensive line when they signed tackle Andrew Whitworth, regardless of him turning age 35 this year. They should add more offensive line help with their $23. 28 million in cap space, according to OverTheCap.com.
5 Veteran Free Agents Worth a One Year Contract
1. Demarcus Ware
2. Dwight Freeney
3. Terence Newman
4. Nick Mangold
5. John Sullivan @PFF
— Cris Collinsworth (@CollinsworthPFF) March 7, 2017
L.A. should double up on veteran offensive linemen by signing Nick Mangold. Mangold is 33-years-old and he only played in eight games last season. However, the seven-time Pro Bowler would instantly become the Rams’ starting center.
Sure, Mangold only played half the season but that was enough to earn him Pro Football Focus‘ No. 25 center in the NFL. Plus, Mangold brings the veteran leadership that the Rams already prioritized by the addition of Whitworth.
Los Angeles let go of last season’s starting center Tim Barnes, despite Barnes being one of the most consistent players on their offensive line in 2016. The Rams need help on the offensive line if they want to protect Jared Goff and Todd Gurley. Mangold can provide that service at a reasonable price tag.
Tackle King Dunlap
Speaking of offensive line help, the Seattle Seahawks could use some help up front too. They have about $18 million in cap space, which they should use to add an offensive tackle. They struggled after last year’s free agency departure of Russell Okung.
Chargers make it official. King Dunlap released.
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 13, 2017
Tackle King Dunlap just got released by the Los Angeles Chargers. One team’s trash could be another franchise’s treasure.
Dunlap has been the Chargers starting left tackle for the last four seasons. He could help the Seahawks in their search for a backside protector for Russell Wilson, especially since this draft class is not loaded with options. Last season, Seahawks tackles Garry Gilliam and George Fant graded as the No. 71 and No. 74 tackles by Pro Football Focus.
Dunlap received a 62.7 accumulative grade from the same subscription service. He finished as the No. 53 tackle in 2016. The 31-year-old instantly became the best available tackle when the Chargers released him. Thus, he would be a definitive upgrade for Seattle’s offensive line.
San Francisco 49ers
Defensive Tackle Johnathan Hankins
— SI NFL (@si_nfl) March 13, 2017
The San Francisco 49ers have more cap space than any other NFL team, according to OverTheCap.com. Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins may be tied with Dontari Poe for the best defensive lineman available. Except Hankins is two years young than Poe and the former Giants defensive tackle had 1.5 sacks more than Poe.
Still, San Francisco had the league’s worst rushing defense last season. Adding an interior defender like Hankins could help the 49ers improve that mark. It would also allow young defensive linemen Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner to concentrate on playing the edges.
It should be mentioned that Hankins had his worst season, per PFF’s grading. However, some of that could be attributed to the Giants adding Damon Harrison in last year’s free agency.
A change of scenery could help Hankins improve. Either way, the 49ers have money to burn and their defense can not get much worst. Hankins is definitely worth the gamble for San Francisco.
Defensive Tackle Dontari Poe
Dontari Poe in high demand. Visits Colts Sun, JAX, ATL, OAK and MIA wants visits as well. If Indy doesn't come correct he'll be traveling
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 11, 2017
The Oakland Raiders were surprisingly quiet during the first wave of free agency. Hence, they are still around $40 million under the salary cap. That means Oakland can still make a big offer for an available free agent. Insert former Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe.
Poe is coming off one of the worst seasons in his career. PFF ranked Poe as the 59th player at his position. This could make the defensive tackle a welcomed bargain for the Raiders.
Remember, the Raiders finished lasted in the NFL for sacks. Even head coach Jack Del Rio attributed that to the lack of push on the inside. Poe could fill that need for a push on the inside.
Plus, the former Chief would reunite with other Chiefs-turned-Raiders. Oakland signed Sean Smith in 2016 and Rodney Hudson in 2015, after both players left Kansas City via free agency. Poe should do the same.
Los Angeles Chargers
Running Back Darren McFadden
— Cowboys 247 (@NFL_Cowboys247) March 2, 2017
Chargers former backup running back Danny Woodhead is one of the players at his position to ink a deal this offseason. Woodhead left Los Angeles for the Baltimore Ravens. However, running backs Latavius Murray, Eddie Lacy, Adrian Peterson and Jamal Charles are all flash names that are still available.
Nonetheless, Murray and former Cowboys running back Darren McFadden most recently surpassed 1,000 rushing yards. McFadden only appeared in four games in 2016, due to a freak elbow injury. Unfortunately, McFadden has been hurt most of his career.
With that said, McFadden did rush for 1,089 rushing yards in 2015. He has proven to be a capable blocker and pass-catcher out of the backfield. His slashing style could mesh well behind Chargers starting running back Melvin Gordon. Gordon has missed five games over the past two seasons. Hence, the Chargers should add a backup runner with their remaining $18 million in cap space anyways.
As previously mentioned, the Chargers already lost Woodhead. Current backups Kenneth Farrow and Branden Oliver have shown glimpses, but McFadden could be an upgrade over them. McFadden should also be cheap as his market has been quiet so far.
Stay posted for more free agency acquisitions as the Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks continue their offseason.