FA Rumors: Warford, Cowboys, Panthers

This year’s strong guard market figures to drive up the prices for interior linemen. Two such top-tier UFAs figure to push for eight-figure deals, with Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com connecting both Ronald Leary and Larry Warford to deals of around $8MM per season (Twitter link). Robinson adds that Leary’s per year range could soar into the $9MM range (Twitter link). This comes after a report pegged Kevin Zeitler, generally viewed as this year’s top available guard, as being set to command $12MM AAV.

Kelechi Osemele‘s $11.7MM-AAV deal currently tops the guard hierarchy, but only two other players — Kyle Long and David DeCastro — are eight-figure-per-year players. The only other $8MM-per-year guards are Brandon Brooks, Mike Iupati and the recently extended Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, so Leary and Warford look set to join exclusive company with their second contracts. Robinson also reported last night T.J. Lang‘s next deal is estimated to be between $8-$10MM AAV.

Here’s more from the free agent market, courtesy of Robinson.

  • The Panthers are going to be bargain hunting on the offensive line in free agency, Robinson (on Twitter) senses. He also envisions Carolina addressing the secondary in a meaningful way, which jibes with what we’ve been hearing over the past few months.
  • Barry Church doesn’t figure to see a gargantuan raise the way many free agents will, with Robinson expecting the Cowboys safety sign for more than $5MM on average (Twitter link). Although, Robinson notes Church’s next contract could average earnings that are “solidly higher” than $5MM. Eric Berry‘s megadeal took the top safety off the market, so teams in need of back-line defenders could turn to a player like Church. The 29-year-old career-long Cowboy started in Dallas for the past four seasons. Church made $4.25MM in base salary last season in Dallas. A former UDFA, Church said last month he was open to giving the Cowboys a hometown discount to some degree, but this could well be his last chance to earn a higher-end contract. PFR’s latest safety rankings place Church third — behind Tony Jefferson and Duron Harmon.
  • Robinson provided extensive clarity on what the wide receiver market could look like, and the pursuit of Alshon Jeffery might not yield what the Bears wideout believes he deserves.
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