Now that we have completed the offensive tackle portion of our NFL free agency series, let's move on to the interior part of the line and take a look at the guards. Once the free agency period begins on March 13th, offensive linemen should be some of the quickest players off the shelves, as it seems like every team is always in need of an upgrade.
The Arizona Cardinals just so happen to be one of those teams. They signed Daryn Colledge during the last offseason to a five year deal, so he should be able to secure the left side for years to come. On the right side, however, Rex Hadnot played well, but does not appear to be a permanent fixture there.
That's where our first candidate steps in. Carl Nicks is widely considered one of the best -- if not the best -- offensive guards in the entire league. He is a dominant force both in the run game and in pass protection. But there is one huge caveat that will prevent teams from pursuing his services. Let's see what that is after the jump.
As a former fifth round draft pick in 2008, Carl Nicks knows what it feels like to be overlooked. That will not be the case next month, as any team that feels they could use an upgrade on their O-Line will be giving Mr. Nicks and his agent a call.
Nicks is one of the premiere interior linemen in the league. Last season, he only gave up 2 sacks, 4 QB hits and 10 pressures on franchise QB Drew Brees. Pro Football Focus also ranked him positively both in run blocking and pass protection. One thing that astounded me was that Nicks has only given up an average of 1.2 pressures per game since becoming a starter in 2008. That is simply phenomenal.
So what would prevent the Cardinals from calling this guy the second they are able to do so? It's the money, of course. Nicks recently came out and said that he wants to be paid more than his current teammate, Jahri Evans. Evans recently signed a seven year, $56.7 million deal. That is a big chunk of change for an interior lineman.
Another possible limiting factor would be the side of the line he plays on. Nicks has always been a left guard since coming into the NFL, which is where Daryn Colledge currently resides. Now, I have no doubt that with the talent of both of these players, one of them could move to the right side. But with a change like that, it takes time to adjust.
So should the Cardinals go get Nicks? He has no injury history and is an outstanding player, but I feel that his price tag may be a bit steep for what the Cardinals are going to be willing to spend. The team still has to re-sign defensive end Calais Campbell, so that is something to factor in as well. It would be extremely ideal if they were able to bring in someone of Nicks' talent, but I just don't see it happening.
What do you think? Should the Arizona Cardinals target free agent guard, Carl Nicks? Tell us in the comments below and don't forget to vote in the poll.