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What will the top free agent linemen cost? ESPN’s Clayton gives his estimates

By Matthew Coller

Cash rules everything around NFL free agency and the Minnesota Vikings may have cream to spend when the signing period opens on March 9. However, at the moment, just how much it will cost the to sign top offensive linemen is not exactly clear.

But in an article for ESPN Insider, veteran NFL reporter John Clayton provided us with a rough outline for his top 25 free agents based on market value. Of those 25, five are offensive linemen who might be targeted by the Vikings. So let’s have a look at his estimate and what that might mean for the Vikings.

(Note: Clayton is clear in his article that there will always be teams willing to go far out of the price range to land a player).

LT – Andrew Whitworth – Cincinnati Bengals

Clayton estimate: One year, $10 million

Of all the linemen on the market, Whitworth will be the most sought after, meaning that the reasonable market price for a top-notch 35-year-old tackle versus what he will actually receive will probably be quite different. With more than a half dozen teams in the mix, it would make sense for Whitworth to not only look to make the most money of any tackle in 2017 but also aim for a multi-year deal, even if it’s a team friendly one. If the Vikings could actually get Whitworth for one year, $10 million, they would jump for joy.

OG – Kevin Zeitler – Cincinnati Bengals

Clayton estimate: Four years, $36 million

Clayton’s price for Zeitler would rank him third among all guards for Average Annual Value. Not only is the Bengals’ guard the highest rated interior offensive linemen on the market by Pro Football Focus, he is only 26 years old, meaning that he will be mid-prime for the entire length of the deal. The biggest question about putting $9 million per year into Zeitler is whether spending big money at the guard spot is too much considering the number of possible solid replacements.

OG – TJ Lang – Green Bay Packers

Clayton estimate: Three years, $26.5 million total

At 29 years old, there would be more concern about Lang breaking down than Zeitler, but his performance last season played an integral role in Aaron Rodgers’ MVP-caliber season and the Packers’ solid running game. Getting a guard of Lang’s caliber, track record and consistency is rare, so Clayton’s estimated contract would be a bargain.

OG – Larry Warford – Detroit Lions

Clayton estimate: Four years, $32 million total

Both Warford and free agent right tackle Riley Reiff could walk away from the Lions if one of them isn’t franchise tagged and you can see why when you look at the price tag. While Warford was rated the 20th best guard in the NFL by Pro Football Focus last season, he was ranked mid-pack for two of his four years in the league, which isn’t exactly the same as similarly-priced guards Zeitler and Lang. The 26-year-old guard is known for being a superb run blocker, which may attract the Vikings.

RT – Ricky Wagner – Baltimore Ravens

Clayton estimate: Four years, $28 million

What Wagner is looking for and what he’ll get offered might be two very different things if Clayton’s price comes to fruition. NFL.com’s Greg Rosenthal hinted that Wagner might be looking in the range of $10 million per year. Of course, that’s left tackle money, but the Ravens’ solid right tackle will be looking to take advantage of teams’ desperation. And in the case of the Vikings, yes, they’re desperate and would probably love if he accepted a four-year, $28 million deal.

The post What will the top free agent linemen cost? ESPN’s Clayton gives his estimates appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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