Dan Pompei, of the National Football Post, reviewed the best free agents left on the market in his Sunday Blitz.
The general consensus is that Andre Smith is the best free agent offensive tackle. However, Pompei had a different take when ranking the players left on the market.
“Offensive tackle—Eric Winston. You wouldn’t think a player who has been cut in consecutive years would have much value, but Winston could in the right situation. According to front office men I respect, Winston could be a very effective right tackle in a zone blocking scheme,” Pompei wrote. “He is one of the more athletic right tackles in the league, but isn’t very powerful. Recently released Tyson Clabo is a similar player. Several personnel men I spoke with find Andre Smith highly overrated.”
At the start of free agency, Smith was regarded as a top free agent. However, with the Cincinnati Bengals not budging on their original offer and other teams not trying to sign him, it’s hard to imagine teams believe he is worth the $9 million per year he was hoping to receive.
According to Pro Football Focus’s grading system, Smith was the second-best offensive tackle last year behind the Denver Broncos Ryan Clady, posting a 26.9 grade in 1,073 snaps.
Smith was the sixth-overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. His first two seasons in the NFL were riddled with injuries. He rebounded nicely in 2011 and 2012 and should be able to sign with a team in the near future.