There are some great Linebackers available this offseason with a few that look set to be on the move.
Jadeveon Clowney has matured into a great player
Altough it was impossible for him to live up to the hype coming out of college, Jadeveon Clowney has matured into one of the best defensive players in the NFL. The hype was over the top and that along with injuries in his first three years contributed to his slow start as a pro. Once he was finally healthy for a full season, he showed how dominant he can be especially against the run.
He can play Outside Linebacker or Defensive End which means his services will be in high demand this offseason. He was again named to the Pro Bowl this year and it appears that whoever signs him is getting a true impact player who is just entering his prime. The most likely scenario is that he stays with the Texans as they have plenty of cap space and also have the option of using the franchise tag in order to keep their man. If that happens and Clowney stays healthy for another full season with similar production, he can expect a massive pay day when he finally does sign his new deal
Anthony Barr will have to leave Minnesota to get paid
With the amount of money the Vikings have tied up at the moment, it seems highly unlikely that they will be able to afford to pay Anthony Barr. Judging from his comments regarding free agency, it does not appear that there will be any type of hometown discount. He has stated that he knows what he’s worth and he intends to do what’s best for him.
Those words are not what the Vikings would be hoping to hear and the reality is that a player that has made 4 straight Pro Bowls before his rookie contract is done shouldn’t be taking discounts. This is a sport where staying healthy is not promised and you have to ultimately do what’s in your best interest as Barr has stated is his intention. He will have plenty of teams looking to pay him big money which means he has most likely played his last game for the Vikings.
Jordan Hicks talent is not a concern but injuries are
When healthy, Jordan Hicks is one of the best Linebackers in the NFL. The problem is that he isn’t always healthy. He has missed over 30% of his team’s games in his career due to injury. One of those injuries was an Achilles which is always worrying. He did recover from that injury and played well in the first 10 weeks of this season until he got hurt again in week 11 and had to sit out 4 games. Nobody seems sure where he will end up although his preference seems to be coming back to the Eagles. There hasn’t been any indication by the team of what they plan to do. When healthy, Hicks is the type of Linebacker coaches want in the modern NFL. He doesn’t need to be substituted depending on the situation or down since he is both a run stopper and great in coverage. It’s unfortunate that the only thing holding him back are the nagging injuries but in a sport where health is always a major concern, the amount of games he’s missed in his career can’t be ignored.