2013's free agent Offensive Linemen and potential cap casualties
Louis Vasquez was the Chargers' best offensive lineman in 2012, and will reportedly be seeking a deal in the range of $6 million. He and the Chargers are not believed to be engaged in contract negotiations yet, and scouts are believed to be very high on the 25 year old, so it wouldn't be at all surprising to see him hit the open market in March.
Due to the mess of a salary cap situation that Mike Tannenbaum left behind, the Jets are unlikely to be able to afford to bring back Brandon Moore. Though he is 32 years old, he could be an option for a team that is ready to contend for a Super Bowl next season... Fellow Jets guard Matt Slauson could also hit the market, though he's more likely to stay in New York due to a lower price tag.
Here are a few of the free agent centers. The Falcons would like to have Todd McClure back in 2013, and as a player turning 36 in the next few days, a return to the Super Bowl contending team in Atlanta makes sense.
The Broncos will be in a similar situation with veteran center Dan Koppen, who was signed midseason in 2012 and quickly became the starter in Denver.
There's not much reason for the Jaguars to bring back 35 year old Brad Meester, as the team is clearly in rebuilding mode. Meester has stated that he does not want to retire, but there's a chance that he doesn't get any contract offers. This class of free agent centers is very thin.
Here are some potential cap casualties on the offensive line:
By the end of the 2012 season, Doug Free was rotating with Jermey Parnell at right tackle. Due $7 million in 2013, Free will be very overpaid if he is not released.
The Steelers are making a transition to a younger offensive line, and could be adopting a zone-blocking scheme. Willie Colon is a power-blocking lineman with a spotty injury history who will be 30 years old in April, so the Steelers very well may want his $5.5 million off their payroll.
Jared Gaither's Charger teammates are apparently fed up with the injury-prone tackle, who was accused of milking injuries in 2012. One Charger was quoted saying, "I can't even look him in the eye," while another said, "F---ing Gaither. He f---ing cost us big time." Head coach Norv Turner (who has since been fired) also said, "We gave Jared every opportunity to be part of this team, and it just hasn't worked out." Reliable sources expect the Chargers to absorb a $6 million cap hit to dump the problematic locker room presence.