Though Carl Nicks remains unsigned as one of the top free agents remaining in free agency, the offensive guard remains in Tampa Bay with both sides working towards a deal. Initial reports also indicated that Nicks wasn't scheduled to visit other teams, possibly concluding that the Buccaneers are capitulating to Nicks' salary demands that other teams aren't willing to offer. In the meantime the New Orleans Saints are looking to replace Nicks with arguably the second-best available offensive guard in Ben Grubbs.
Who does that leave?
+ Let's just start with the obvious. Bobbie Williams. Though he'll turn 36 in September, Williams would still be the second-best offensive lineman behind Andrew Whitworth if the team decided to bring the old veteran back in 2012. His contract will be relatively cheap for an older player and it allows a younger player like Clint Boling or someone the team drafts time to develop with a great mentor to guide them. We know it's not sexy but offensive linemen rarely are.
+ Vernon Carey, eight years with the Miami Dolphins and former first round draft pick in 2004, is one of the better options still out there, suited for the right guard position but athletic enough to play left guard. Think of him as a younger version of Bobbie Williams.
+ There's stands a reasonable conclusion that Steve Hutchinson won't sign with a team like the Bengals and we're not sure that Cincinnati wants that will turn 35 years old in November -- think of it this way, they still haven't signed Williams. If not for injuries in recent seasons, Hutchinson could be rated as one of the top available free agent guards, if he was even released by the Minnesota Vikings.
+ We only include Jacob Bell because reports surfaced Wednesday night that the Bengals have invited the free agent guard to Cincinnati this week. Beyond that we're not sure if he's an actual upgrade or the team falling into a "status quo" mentality at guard.
+ Cincinnati actually signed Deuce Lutui last year and if not for his failed physical, he would have likely remained with the team today. Do the Bengals try again this year?
Other players still available includes:
- Chad Rinehart (Bills)
- Jake Scott (Titans)
- Jacob Bell (Rams)
- Ryan Diem (Colts)
- Sean Locklear (Redskins)
- Dan Connolly (Patriots)
- Ramon Foster (Steelers)
- Leonard Davis (Lions)
- Anthony Herrera (Vikings)