There isn’t a great selection of defensive tackles this offseason. Teams tend to hold onto the really good ones, so if they’re out there, it’s often because they have some issues. Luckily with the Raiders having made the position a priority last offseason by re-signing Justin Ellis and drafting PJ Hall and Maurice Hurst, they don’t need to make a big signing in free agency.
There are a few potentially valuable short-term options out there though.
Henry Anderson, Jets
Anderson could be a sneaky fantastic free agent pickup by some team this offseason. The former third round pick couldn’t get on the field in his three years in Indianapolis. He tore his ACL halfway through his rookie season, couldn’t fight his way back to a starting job in his season season, and landed on IR again in his third season. Prior to last season the Colts cut their losses and got a third round pick from the Jets for the 6-6, 300-pounder. In New York, Anderson finally broke out putting up 7.0 sacks. The former Stanford star will turn 28 in August and could be in line for a one-year prove-it deal. That is prove you can duplicate that production elsewhere and stay healthy.
Muhammad Wilkerson, Packers
It wasn’t so long ago the 29-year-old Wilkerson was considered one of the best interior defenders in football. He twice had double digit sacks, including a Pro Bowl season in which he put up 12.0 sacks and 64 combined tackles. That earned him the franchise tag followed by a 5-year, $85 million deal with the Jets in 2016. Two years later, he was cut and signed with the Packers on a one-year, $5 million deal. But in week three, he would break his ankle and land on injured reserve. He will again receive one-year offers in free agency and could be a solid addition to the interior line rotation.
Domata Peko, Broncos
The overall numbers were down for the 34-year-old nose tackle. But he had his two best games of the season against the Raiders. You think his former Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther didn’t take notice? Peko never missed a start for Guenther in Cincinnati. Then twice last season Guenther watched from the sideline as his former stalwart nose tackle dominated the line of scrimmage. We know Gruden doesn’t shy away from well aged players. If Guenther wants his guy for a season, let him have him.
Grady Jarrett, Falcons
The Falcons just let Robert Alford go and there will be more as they look to clear cap space to hold onto Jarrett. He’s not going anywhere whether it be by franchise tag or long term deal.