Figure out the right side of the offensive line. The Lions have a pair of impending free agents: right guard Larry Warford and right tackle Riley Reiff. Reiff moved over after four years on the left side once Detroit drafted Taylor Decker in the first round of last year’s draft. Reiff’s return might depend upon the market he finds in free agency. If a team values the former Iowa standout as a left tackle and is willing to pay a premium, it’s hard to envision Reiff returning. If Reiff is looking only at right tackle money, Detroit should probably be able to keep him around.
Warford’s the better lineman of the two, but his best season was arguably his rookie campaign in 2013. There’s a strong case to retain Warford, especially after 2015 first-rounder Laken Tomlinson lost his starting job at left guard for a stretch last year. If Tomlinson had played well, the Lions could have played third-round pick Graham Glasgow at right guard and allowed Warford to move on. Now, Glasgow might be needed at left guard, and Tomlinson might not be worth trusting with a starting gig.
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North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky and Stanford’s Solomon Thomas had huge 2016 seasons. Here’s where they land in Mel Kiper’s latest ranking of the top 25 prospects for the 2017 NFL draft.
The Jets have 10 pending free agents, none of whom is remotely worthy of the franchise tag. The biggest names are quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith, but neither one factors into the team’s plans. The Jets addressed their No. 1 free-agent priority by re-signing right guard Brian Winters last month.
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Per ESPN’s Stats & Information research, 30 offensive linemen have been franchise tagged since 1993. And the tagged numbers are 26 for defensive ends and 24 for linebackers. On the other end, there have been four punters, nine quarterbacks and 10 running backs franchised.
Generally speaking, teams see a better economic value to leverage high-end linemen than skill position players.