Who's Out There? Centers


The Ravens want to get bigger on the interior of their offensive line.

They also want to challenge incumbent Gino Gradkowski with some new competition for the starting job.

Here are some of the options at center the Ravens may target:

Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns*Unrestricted (transition tag); 6th season; 28 years old; 6-foot-4, 311 pounds
*The Pro Bowler is one of the best free agent linemen on the market, but the Browns made a shrewd move Monday afternoon to likely keep him in Cleveland. The Browns placed the transition tag on Mack, which gives them the opportunity to match any other offer Mack may receive. If Mack doesn't get offers from any other team, then he could sign the one-year, $10 million tag from the Browns. He was a rumored target for the Ravens, but the transition tag makes it unlikely the Ravens nab him from the division foe.

Evan Dietrich-Smith, Green Bay Packers*Unrestricted, 7th season, 27 years old, 6-2, 308
*Dietrich-Smith helped his case for a contract by starting every game last year in Green Bay. He has grown into a starting role after initially entering the NFL as an unrestricted free agent. He will likely command one of the bigger offensive linemen contracts this offseason, as he has proven he can start and is still in his prime.

Brian De La Puente, New Orleans Saints*Unrestricted, 5th season, 28 years old, 6-3, 306
*De La Puente has been a quality starter in New Orleans for the last three years, and is considered one of the best centers expected to hit free agency.

Jonathan Goodwin, San Francisco 49ersUnrestricted, 14th season; 35 years old; 6-3, 318
The veteran center has been a reliable starter over the course of his career, starting every game for the last three seasons in San Francisco. He has also spent time with the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets. The 49ers appear willing to let Goodwin walk in free agency, and he would provide veteran competition for Gradkowski. Goodwin would be a temporary solution at center, as he is nearing the end of his playing days.

Ryan Wendell, New England Patriots*Unrestricted, 6th season, 28 years old, 6-2, 300
*Wendell has started for the Patriots the last two years, but he had a down season in 2012. He ranked as the worst free agent center in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.  The disappointing 2012 campaign was puzzling for Wendell, who ranked as PFF's fourth-best center in the NFL the previous season. The question for teams interested in Wendell is whether they are getting the 2012 or 2013 version.

Other Potential Targets:

Phil Costa, Dallas Cowboys

Steve Vallos, Denver Broncos

Fernando Velasco, Pittsburgh Steelers

Ted Larsen, Tamp Bay Buccaneers

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