NFL free agency preview: A couple of guards lead a thin offensive line group

If you need help on the offensive line, this isn’t the best year to find it.

The draft has remarkably few can’t-miss offensive line prospects. And it’s not a great free-agent class for offensive linemen either, especially if you need a left tackle. There are some solid options, but it will feel like a game of musical chairs, because there aren’t that many and there are more than a few teams that need help.

The top 12 available offensive linemen are sure to get plenty of interest:

1. Green Bay Packers G T.J. Lang

Lang is a Pro Bowl player, and just 29. He’d help just about any team’s guard situation. Hip surgery complicates things a little, but he’s the surest thing among the offensive linemen in free agency.

T.J. Lang (70) blocks for Aaron Rodgers. (AP)
T.J. Lang (70) blocks for Aaron Rodgers. (AP)

2. Cincinnati Bengals G Kevin Zeitler

Zeitler is another good player and his age (he turned 27 on Wednesday, Lang is two-and-a-half years older) will likely be the difference in him getting the biggest contract among all offensive linemen. He is a former first-round pick and has been a starter in Cincinnati from his rookie year on.

3. Cincinnati Bengals OT Andrew Whitworth

Whitworth is a solid option who has missed just two games since 2008. He will turn 36 next season, but teams wouldn’t look at him as a long-term solution. But as a one- or two-year fix? He’s a fine option.

4. New York Jets C Nick Mangold

The Jets moved on from Mangold, mostly due to salary-cap reasons but also because Mangold dealt with ankle injuries last season and he just turned 33. He has been the NFL’s best center over the past decade, and he should be able to help his second team.

5. Baltimore Ravens OT Ricky Wagner

Wagner is a good right tackle, and he’s sure to be overpaid because teams have money to spend, Wagner is just 27 and there just aren’t many good tackles on the market.

6. Detroit Lions G Larry Warford

Warford, a third-round pick four years ago, has been a solid starter for the Lions since entering the league. Like a few others on this list, his price tag will be high because he’s young and there aren’t many great options.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars OT Kelvin Beachum

Beachum spent four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, then one with the Jaguars. He is a capable starter at left tackle, so there should be interest in him.

8. Detroit Lions OT Riley Reiff

Reiff had an up-and-down first five seasons with the Lions. He was a 2012 first-round pick, spent some time at left tackle, then was moved to right tackle last season. Reiff might want a chance to play left tackle again.

9. Dallas Cowboys G Ronald Leary

Leary is a good lineman who was part of one of the best offensive lines we’ve ever seen. But he wouldn’t be a starter for a fully healthy Cowboys line, and he’ll cash in as a starter elsewhere.

10. Green Bay Packers C J.C. Tretter

Tretter has just 10 career starts, but his versatility makes him attractive. He’s a center who could slide over to guard if needed. He has had injury issues, including a knee injury last year, but teams will be interested.

11. Minnesota Vikings OT Matt Kalil

Kalil was the fourth overall pick of the 2012 draft. He had his share of struggles at left tackle. However, he’s still fairly young, teams will have distant memories of the player he was at USC, and he’ll get another shot.

12. New York Jets OT Ryan Clady

Clady was once one of the best tackles in football. He’s a two-time first-team All-Pro. But injuries have taken a toll. He has missed 37 games the past four seasons. He’ll be 31 next season, and his next team will be gambling he can stay healthy. If he is healthy, he’s an enormous tackle with good athleticism.

More NFL free agency coverage from Yahoo Sports:
Top 20 overall available free agents
A list of the the franchise-tagged players
Some interesting possibilities at quarterback for a change
An all-time great running back leads top skill-position players

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!