2012 Offseason Movement: Offensive Lineman
By Matt Bitonti
July 18th, 2012

The offseason movement feature makes yet another appearance. It's one of the few staples of football that you know isn't going anywhere since there will always be players changing teams. Some will end up in better situations, some in worse ones. It's up to us to tell you which ones look good or bad from a preliminary look below. And it's up to you to continue to return to our website over the summer to see how some of these guys look to be panning out with their new teams. If nothing else, this will provide you with a refresher course or keep you informed on something you may have missed in April.

We wish we had a crystal ball to tell you exactly what is going to happen, when it is going to happen, and how much turnover there will be statistically. But the truth is, it's very early in the offseason. The key directive we can give you right now is to stay informed. Players change teams almost daily during the summer months, and a seemingly insignificant move in late August can have a huge impact on both the real NFL and your fantasy league.

We all want to know how Player X will fit in with Team Y. We all want to know how a superstar will react to the first major move of his career, or which journeyman on their last legs will resurrect their stat lines with a move elsewhere. And we can help you with that over time. For now, though, educate yourself on what you see below. Get a good base for how the moves should impact each team, and we'll continue to let you know how they are impacting each team. In the meantime, you can be assured that you won't be that guy at the bar saying something like, "I like Sidney Rice but just don't trust Tarvaris Jackson." while your friends give you blank stares and wonder where you were all offseason.

Offensive Linemen by Matt Bitonti

  1. Carl Nicks - Tampa Bay (from New Orleans)
    • What happened: The Bucs made Nicks the highest-paid guard in the league in order to transform the Bucs line from good to elite.

    • What it means: Nicks is an oversized road grader and has been dominant in all phases of offense while with the Saints. Bucs' skill positions, especially quarterback and running back should directly benefit from this upgrade.

  2. Ben Grubbs - New Orleans (from Baltimore)
    • What happened: The Saints acted quickly to replace Carl Nicks with Ben Grubbs, signed from the Ravens.

    • What it means: While not quite as good as Nicks, Grubbs was an AFC Pro Bowl starter for the Ravens in 2011 and should cushion the downgrade from losing Nicks. What this means for the Saints offense is that there will only be a slight downgrade going from an All-Pro left guard to a Pro Bowl left guard. It could have been much worse. Do not markedly downgrade Saints' skill positions based on the departure of Nicks.

  3. Steve Hutchinson - Tennessee (from Minnesota)
    • What happened: The Titans acquired one of the league's best guards and a seven time All-Pro in Hutchinson.

    • What it means: While Hutchinson is getting older, he remains in top form, especially in pass protection. Considering last year's guard was Jake Scott, this is a giant upgrade for Tennessee's offensive line. With the addition of this possible Hall of Fame player, we have graded Tennessee to have the league's top line going into the season. Upgrade the Titans' offense, especially Chris Johnson, accordingly.

  4. Scott Wells - St. Louis (from Green Bay)
    • What happened: The Rams offensive line has been a disaster for years and the signing of 2011 Pro Bowler Scott Wells from the Packers is a good first step on the road to respectability.

    • What it means: Wells has been a quietly top-tier center for several seasons and should be instrumental in organizing the Rams offensive line under pressure. To be clear, the Rams line is still below average. But with any luck, Wells can help keep Sam Bradford healthy.

  5. Jeff Saturday - Green Bay (from Indianapolis)
    • What happened: The Packers lost Scott Wells to the Rams and while Saturday is likely on his swan song as a player he should capably replace Wells in the short term.

    • What it means: Had the Packers looked for Wells' replacement via the draft, there would have been an adjustment period and the line's quality would have suffered in the short term. Instead, the Packers should be able to plug and play with the former All-Pro Saturday and keep the offense rolling along.

  6. Eric Winston - Kansas City (from Houston)
    • What happened: Winston was a very good right tackle for Houston and he should be able to improve the Chiefs offensive line right away.

    • What it means: Winston did have offseason ankle surgery however and there is some concern that his health was the reason behind his release from the Texans. Still, we are talking about a team that started Barry Richardson at right tackle last year, and Winston represents a big improvement.

  7. Demetress Bell - Philadelphia (from Buffalo)
    • What happened: When the Eagles lost Jason Peters to an offseason Achilles tendon tear, it was a really big loss. Peters did a lot for Andy Reid's offense, and he rarely got help from backs or tight ends. Bell replaced Peters in Buffalo and he will be asked to do it again in Philadelphia.

    • What it means: Bell is the son of NBA legend Karl Malone and a good quality player in his own right. But Bell is several grades below what All-Pro Peters provided to the Birds. Slightly downgrade the Eagles skill positions from last year. The Eagles' line is going to be worse without Peters. Bell will be good but he won't be great.

  8. Nate Livings - Dallas (from Cincinnati)
    • What happened: Livings was very good with the Bengals and will try to bring some stability to a Dallas offensive line that is in upheaval.

    • What it means: The tackles are swapping. The center and right guard spots are basically open competitions. At left guard, Livings should be a good reliable starter while these various situations settle down. Essentially, Livings should be the rock in what is basically a rebuilding situation for the Cowboys.

  9. Travelle Wharton - Cincinnati (from Carolina)
    • What happened: Wharton was brought in from the Panthers to replace Nate Livings, which could be considered a lateral move for Cincinnati.

    • What it means: Replacing Nate Livings with Travelle Wharton is basically a wash for the Bengals. Wharton is an upgrade in run blocking but a down grade in pass protection. There will be a period of transition while the line builds cohesion (the other guard spot is also being manned by a newcomer, rookie Kevin Zeitler). But overall, consider Wharton for Livings to be a wash and do not downgrade the Bengals skill positions based on this change.

  10. Winston Justice - Indianapolis (from Philadelphia)
    • What happened: The Colts traded for Justice and will likely start him at right tackle.

    • What it means: Justice isn't outstanding but he has become a decent player over the years. The Colts offensive line is undergoing transition, as several players return from injury and new players like Justice step in from free agency. Overall, Justice represents a likely upgrade over Jeff Linkenbach, who would be starting instead.

  11. Samson Satele - Indianapolis (from Oakland)
    • What happened: Similar to the Winston Justice trade, the Colts signing Satele means there will be a starting quality center replacing Jeff Saturday.

    • What it means: Satele is undersized and certainly isn't in the class of Saturday as a player, but considering how many holes this team has, it could have been much worse. Satele is a downgrade from Saturday but he should be a steady performer while the team rebuilds.

  12. Mike Brisiel - Oakland (from Houston)
    • What happened: Brisiel was brought in from Houston as a good fit for the new zone blocking scheme the Raiders are installing.

    • What it means: He is a steady player who should be able to open holes for the Raiders tailbacks. Brisiel is not a Pro Bowl player (or even close to that) but he's a fit for the scheme and should not have any delay in learning the new system.

  13. Robert Gallery - New England (from Seattle)
    • What happened: Brian Waters is rumored to be considering his retirement. So should that occur, Gallery will be able to step right in.

    • What it means: Gallery is not a multiple Pro Bowl type of player than Waters has been, but he actually turned into a decent guard for Seattle after washing out as a franchise left tackle. Gallery has strong technique and can perform well on the interior. There will be a slight downgrade if Waters retires but it wouldn't be a disaster.

Other notable offensive linemen that changed teams:

  • G Mackenzy Bernadeau – Dallas (from Carolina)

  • T Bruce Campbell – Carolina (from Oakland)

  • G Rex Hadnot – San Diego (from Arizona)

  • T Artis Hicks – Miami (from Cleveland)

  • T James Lee – Washington (from Tampa Bay)

  • T Sean Locklear – NY Giants (from Washington)

  • G Deuce Lutui – Seattle (from Arizona)

  • T Frank Omiyale – Seattle (from Chicago)

  • G Mike Pollack – Carolina (from Indianapolis)

  • T Barry Richardson – St. Louis (from Kansas City)

  • T Steve Vallos – Philadelphia (from Cleveland)

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