- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
Sure, this is an AFC North blog. But to get a full scope of NFL free agency, you have to look in-depth at the other seven divisions to see who's available.
So after scanning through players with help from my colleagues at ESPN.com's blog network, here are five restricted free agents that could garner interest in the AFC North:
Team/tender: Oakland Raiders, third round
2009 stats: 133 tackles, two sacks
Analysis: The past several years I've watched Oakland in person against the AFC North about a half-dozen times, and Morrison usually stands out. He led the Raiders in tackles the past five seasons. So I'm baffled why he has just a third-round tender. Morrison would be a good pickup for a team like the Cleveland Browns, who needs help at linebacker. Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan also coached in Oakland and knows Morrison well.
OG Rob Sims
Team/tender: Seattle Seahawks, fourth round
2009 stats: 14 starts
Analysis: Seattle's offensive line wasn't very good, but Sims is a starting NFL guard who is available for just a fourth-round pick. Keep in mind, Sims is a Macedonia, Ohio native who once played under Mike Holmgren in Seattle. The Browns' president has 11 draft picks at his disposal. So losing a fourth rounder for a starting guard may be worth the risk. Keep an eye on this one.
Teams/tender: Carolina Panthers, second round
2009 stats: 88 tackles, four interceptions
Analysis: At least three teams -- Cleveland, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers -- need help in the secondary. Marshall could be a solid No. 2 cornerback and an upgrade for either of those teams. According to NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas, Carolina is being frugal and could let Marshall walk if he receives a decent offer. But second-round picks are valuable, so teams will have to weigh that, as well.
Team/tender: Denver Broncos, second round
2009 stats: 31 receptions, 416 yards, two TDs
Analysis: Three AFC North teams are looking for help at tight end. The Browns and Cincinnati Bengals are looking for starters, while the Ravens need depth to pair with veteran Todd Heap. Scheffler has the skills and athleticism to help, but as I mentioned with Marshall, teams covet second-round picks. AFC West blogger Bill Williamson believes the Broncos may be willing to deal Scheffler for less, which could increase interest.
Team/tender: Green Bay Packers, second round
2009 stats: 49 tackles, four interceptions
Analysis: Bigby is prone to injuries, but most hard-hitting safeties get banged up from time to time. The Bengals are reportedly interested in bringing veteran safety Roy Williams back. Williams' style is fairly similar to Bigby's, so that could rule out the Bengals. The Browns also are interested in safeties but remain a strong target for Tennessee prospect Eric Berry with the No. 7 overall pick.