The Denver Broncos defensive line was an ailing bunch last season. Ty Warren was placed on injured reserve before week 1, Marcus Thomas missed four games, and Elvis Dumervil missed two games. It became clear that the line needs depth.
Many think that the Broncos should select a defensive lineman with one of their first few selections in the draft. I personally believe that they will, but we can still take a look at the defensive linemen that are out there in free agency.
John Abraham – He had 9.5 sacks in 2011, but he’s 34 years old and no one will want to give him a long term deal. The Falcons had to turn him into a part-time player just to save him for the playoffs.
Cliff Avril – He had 36 tackles and 6 forced fumbles for the Lion in 2011. He’s a guy that knows how to jar a ball loose. The past two seasons, Avril has 19.5 sacks. He has said that he doesn’t want the franchise tag. He wants a long-term deal or he wants to test free agency.
Dave Ball – Had 36 tackles and 2 forced fumbles for the Titans.
Raheem Brock – Brock was arrested for drunk driving over a year ago and it seems he has a history of driving under the influence. He had 29 tackles and 1 forced fumble for the Seahawks last season. Not worth the headaches.
Red Bryant – Had 32 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 interceptions for the Seahawks last season.
Calais Campbell – Campbell is a high priority for the Cardinals. He had 72 tackles, 8 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles in 2011.
Adam Carriker – Recorded 33 tackles and 5.5 sacks for the Redskins.
Andre Carter – He’s a big name and the Patriots will likely try to retain him. He had 52 tackles, 10 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles for them.
Jonathan Fanene – His missed all but 2 games during the 2010 season with a hamstring injury, but he bounced back with 24 tackles and 6.5 sacks for the Bengals.
Israel Idonije – He was a big part of the Bears ferocious defense with 52 tackles and 5 sacks.
Jason Jones – He had 27 tackles and 3 sacks for the Titans.
Robert Mathis – All the talk is about Peyton Manning in Indy these days, but Robert Mathis may not fit the team’s new defense. He had 43 tackles, 9.5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles.
Jeremy Mincey – The Jaguars would like to retain this end. He had 57 tackles, 8 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles last season.
Cory Redding – One of the lesser known names on the Ravens defense, but still tallied 43 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2011.
Dave Tollefson - The Giants will probably try to replace him in the draft. He had 21 tackles and 5 sacks for the team.
Brodrick Bunkley – He is coming off of his best season with 43 tackles for Denver last season.
Antonio Dixon (RFA) – Played in just 4 games for the Eagles in 2011. Had 30 tackles and 2 sacks the year before.
Aubrayo Franklin – Franklin had 17 tackles in 16 games for the Saints.
Antonio Garay – He was a beast for the Chargers with 57 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
Sione Pouha – He will be a top priority for the Jets this offseason. He’s been a consistent contributor with over 40 tackles his last two season.
Shaun Rogers – Age is creeping up on Rogers. In his rookie year (2001) he had 81 tackles and 3 sacks. Last season he had 22 tackles and 0 sacks for the Saints.
Paul Soliai – He had 27 tackles for the Dolphins.
Along with Bunkley, Marcus Thomas, Jason Hunter, and Derrick Harvey are unrestricted free agents for the Broncos this offseason.