There’s a reason why the Buccaneers made Ryan Jensen the highest-paid center ever this offseason. And the Jaguars made Andrew Norwell the highest-paid guard ever. And the Giants made Nate Solder the highest-paid tackle ever.
It’s not because those are bound for Canton. It’s about the scarcity of good linemen in football.
A left tackle being drafted high in the draft used to be a sure thing. More recently, the landscape is littered with Luke Joeckels and Greg Robinsons of the world, which signals a larger problem across the board—the lower levels of football aren’t producing dancing bears the way it used to.
Just as the NFL was scrambling through the Tiffany market of March, the league is now rummaging through the metaphoric flea market of late summer looking for help. You saw the beating Josh Allen took last Sunday in Buffalo? How about the difficulty with which the Cardinals had operating with their second-team line protecting Josh Rosen? Those are just two examples of the wide-spread issue.
With that established, here’s our list of names to watch in trades over the next 24 hours, as coaches and GMs work their rosters down from 90 to 53 …
Lions RB Ameer Abdullah: The 25-year-old has been productive when healthy, but may get lost in the shuffle with LeGarrette Blount and Kerryon Johnson aboard in Detroit. Abdullah’s also going into a contract year.
Vikings CB Mackensie Alexander/Marcus Sherels: Alexander is a former second-round pick who’s struggled to gain traction with Minnesota, while Sherels brings a lot of special teams value. The Vikings could use depth on both sides of the line of scrimmage, so either could be fodder for that.
Dolphins WR Leonte Carroo: A big, physical kid who was drafted in the third round in 2016, and has 10 career catches. If he’s not dealt, he’s no sure thing to make the team.
Packers WR Trevor Davis: A former fifth-round pick, Davis has flashed potential but never broken through on offense. He brings special teams value to the table, though, and has physical ability to work with.
Steelers QB Josh Dobbs: A fourth-round pick just 18 months ago, Dobbs has been displaced by Mason Rudolph as Pittsburgh’s developmental quarterback, and so if you make the Steelers an offer …
Raiders DL Mario Edwards: Sometimes a coaching change and a scheme change can make it hard on a promising players, which appears to be the case here. Edwards, a 2015 second-rounder, started 14 games last year.
Bears C Hroniss Grasu: Another highly-drafted player who has disappointed throughout his career and is heading into a contract year—there are several players in similar situations on the trade block. Grasu’s started a dozen games in three years, and maybe there’s a team out there that liked him coming out, before the Bears took him in the third round.
Colts OT Austin Howard: A little surprising to see him here, sure, considering the Colts issues. But rookies Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith look ready, which has given Indianapolis flexibility at the position with a valuable vet. An right tackle by trade, Howard’s started 88 games over an eight-year career.
Lions WR T.J. Jones: Jones showed promise last year with 30 catches for 399 yards and a touchdown after fighting his way off the practice squad and into a job on the active roster over the last few years.
Broncos OT Cyrus Kouandjio: Given his rocky career, I’m not sure Denver would be able to get much for him. But he’s a lineman, and his name came up, so he’s here.
Cardinals RB T.J. Logan: He’s only in year 2, and a big game Sunday night against Dallas (86 yards and a touchdown on six carries), and has some value as a return man. And Arizona, like seemingly everyone, needs offensive line help.
Packers CB Quinten Rollins: Another former second-round pick, Rollins has 15 career starts under his belt, but looks like a victim of the numbers as Green Bay stocked new coordinator Mike Pettine’s supply at corner (drafting Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson, and bringing back Tramon Williams and Davon House) this offseason.
Raiders OT Jylan Ware: Another Reggie McKenzie draft pick that Jon Gruden might be showing to the exit. He’s got potential heading into his second year, but that’s about it at this point.
Eagles G Chance Warmack: Philadelphia’s rich-get-richer roster is bursting with talent, and its depth on the offensive line could be a real asset now. Warmack’s done a nice job since washing out of Tennessee as a high-first-round draft bust.
Raiders RB DeAndre Washington: The old staff thought highly of his versatility, but with Marshawn Lynch back and Doug Martin with spring in his step, Jalen Richard and Washington are fighting for snaps.
Cardinals CB Brandon Williams: Arizona once had high hopes for the converted receiver—in fact, many thought he might finally end the team’s search for a bookend for Patrick Peterson. It didn’t happen, so here we are.