• Free Agent Linebackers

    This is our next-to-last group of unrestricted free agents (UFA) who might attract attention from some clubs.
    Nine of the sixteen are 31 or younger and, barring injury problems, should have something left in the tank. Twelve of the group were selected in the critical first three rounds of their drafts. Three were first-rounders.
    Who would be good fits for what teams?

    ILB Akin Ayodele (31) (Rd 3 #89 2002)
    ILB Kevin Bentley (31) (Rd 4 #101 2002)
    OLB Keith Bulluck (34) (Rd 1 #30 2000)
    ILB Kevin Burnett (28) (Rd 2 #42 2005)
    OLB Danny Clark (34) (Rd 7 #245 2000)
    ILB Stephen Cooper (32) (Free agent 2003)
    OLB Thomas Davis (27) (Rd 1 #14 2005)
    OLB Leroy Hill (28) (Rd 3 #98 2005)
    ILB Dhani Jones (33) (Rd 6 #177 2000)
    OLB Ben Leber (32) (Rd 3 #71 2002)
    ILB Kirk Morrison (29) (Rd 3 #78 2005)
    OLB Mike Peterson (35) (Rd 2 #36 1999)
    OLB Matt Roth (28) (Rd 2 #46 2005)
    ILB Barrett Ruud (28) (Rd 2 #36 2005)
    ILB Takeo Spikes (34) (Rd 1 #13 1998)
    OLB Pisa Tinoisamoa (30) (Rd 2 #43 2003)

    Comments 11 Comments
    1. SpartaChris's Avatar
      I hear that Dhani Jones guy is better than Brian Urlacher!
    1. Phil McConkey's Avatar
      I always liked Dhani Jones. After he was drafted by the Giants, he wouldn't sign his contract at the team's facility, until he came back dressed in a suit. That showed a lot of class and confidence, especially for a 6th rounder.
    1. GoBigOrGoHome's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Phil McConkey View Post
      I always liked Dhani Jones. After he was drafted by the Giants, he wouldn't sign his contract at the team's facility, until he came back dressed in a suit. That showed a lot of class and confidence, especially for a 6th rounder.
      Michigan guys are good like that. Dhani Jones is one of my favorites. Go Blue.
    1. brauneyz's Avatar
      I think Kirk Morrison can still bring it. He was a bright spot on that god-awful Raidah's team for a long time. Wouldn't mind seeing him as a Pat, but not sure he brings enough leadership to a still young D. If Seymour, Vrabel and Bruschi were still around, I'd say absolutely.

      Lots of fellas listed above are pretty long in the tooth. Prolly could still contribute, but I'm not seeing any 'grabbers'!
    1. BuckeyeRidley's Avatar
      The name that jumped out at me was Takeo Spikes. I have a feeling that he isnt the same guy but will be able to contribute to a team that's willing to bring in Vet leadership. Maybe ARI or STL. Also, I thin Dhain will wind up staying with Cincy; Mike Brown rolls like that.
    1. ReaderM's Avatar
      Bucs fans have no idea what to do with Barrett Rudd,whether to let him leave or sign him back.

      On one hand, he is the leader of the Defense,fits well into the scheme and has been the team leading tackler for at least the past 3 years minimum

      On the other hand.. he is a coverage LB that might be a more a scheme fit then valuable anywhere else, all those tackles he makes always seem to be 10 yards in front of the line of scrimmage&in 2nd level instead of at/near the line. He might be wanting big money on a position the Bucs traditional don't over pay for.

      The longer the lockout last, the more attractive he is going to be to Tampa Bay cause there just won't be enough time to prepare his replacement. That being said, if he asks for more then the Bucs are willing to pay or decides to leave org after being on hook for last 2 years, I expect to seem him in a Giants Jersey come fall if not Pewter and Red.
    1. Dave Lapham's Avatar
      I agree the work stoppage could benefit some of these veteran LBers. Jones, Spikes and others call the defenses in the huddle and make all the adjustments defensively when defenses shift, motion, change the strength of the formation. Even though their physical skills are diminishing that coach on the field presence knowing the system inside out gives teammates a lot of confidence. A young player with no off-season reps with coaches makes the transition this year a lot more dicey. A lot of these backers could hang on for another season as a result. For insurance if nothing else.
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by ReaderM View Post
      Bucs fans have no idea what to do with Barrett Rudd,whether to let him leave or sign him back.

      On one hand, he is the leader of the Defense,fits well into the scheme and has been the team leading tackler for at least the past 3 years minimum

      On the other hand.. he is a coverage LB that might be a more a scheme fit then valuable anywhere else, all those tackles he makes always seem to be 10 yards in front of the line of scrimmage&in 2nd level instead of at/near the line. He might be wanting big money on a position the Bucs traditional don't over pay for.

      The longer the lockout last, the more attractive he is going to be to Tampa Bay cause there just won't be enough time to prepare his replacement. That being said, if he asks for more then the Bucs are willing to pay or decides to leave org after being on hook for last 2 years, I expect to seem him in a Giants Jersey come fall if not Pewter and Red.
      Rudd is the guy that sticks out on that list to me as well. Is he asking for a big contract in Tampa or do they not really like him?
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      I'd be happy to land Ruud, Jones, Roth, and Morrison. I think Ruud's downfield tackles are a result of the scheme he's in. ROth killed us his first few years in Miami and at the least I don't want him returning (low though the odds may be.) I just like Dhani Jones. And Morrison is what the Bills were hoping Poz would be. Good against the run, good against the pass, tough, smart, fast enough, and a good tackler.
    1. ReaderM's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Cris Collinsworth View Post
      Rudd is the guy that sticks out on that list to me as well. Is he asking for a big contract in Tampa or do they not really like him?
      That is the the question nobody seems to know the true answer too. Raheem waxes poetically how Rudd is the QB of his Defense & his smart on the field but.. and this is just my personal opinion..you never hear really him speak in the same awe tone of voice and raw potential to be like he does Black and Hayes at times(honestly that part could be just 2nd guessing on my behalf). It's is very clear that the Bucs wouldn't mind having Rudd back in the organization but only at their price.

      General consensus is that the Bucs FO has a set price on how much they are willing to pay for him and that if he asks for too much more then that, they will let him walk and trust in the players they have behind him for a bit. The most messed up part of that scenario is that his main back-up in Adam Heyward is also a FA this season and other then Mason Foster whom they just drafted, the other two people who could possibly take over the MLB position were rookies last year, though they seem to be high on them after they got some play time last year.

      As for Rudd's contract demands.. he says he just wants a market value contract and long term job security.However, the question has always been what is Market value for his position seeing as the MLB in Tampa-2 is important but not a really a position the team overpays for. Plus Rudd has been publicly unhappy about his contract for a while now so there is a sense of belief that since the Bucs kinda of jerked him around on it, he might not even want back in Tampa Bay.He's been RFA tagged 2 years in row (was supposed to be a UFA last year but due to rules of uncapped year, was one of 5 players who got RFA tag 2 years in a row.) For his production to the team there is no doubt he is under payed but Bucs have used every contractual & CBA means to keep pay him his current salary. Also it was reported last year he was highly pissed at the front office when his Holdout 2 years ago resulted in no contract change but Donald Penn's Holdout resulted in a new deal. Either way, outside of Davin Jospeh, Rudd is considered the 2nd biggest FA priority for the team
    1. inguagiatoj28's Avatar
      Matt Roth, Kirk Morrison, and Barrett Ruud are my top three choices to sign. I think Matt Roth could really help out the line-backing core in Houston and help solidify a defense with Demeco Ryans and Mario Williams. Kirk Morrison should definitely go to Denver! They need help on defense and nothing helps more then a dominate linebacker to start with. (By the way i went to Invesco Field at Mile High and it was awesome!!!!! They have awesome fans and an extreme loud stadium! But the jets won haha so it was an awesoem trip. Denver is a cool city.) Barrett Ruud should could fit with maybe the panthers to help out that recovering defense(since losing jenkins and peppers) or ruud could fit with the eagles.