2012 Free Agency: Star rating is out of five. Age listing as of Sept. 1, 2012.
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Carl Nicks, G, Saints. Age: 27. Signed with Buccaneers (5 years, $47.5 million)
Carl Nicks is arguably the top guard in all of football. He has no weaknesses to his game; his blasts open huge holes for his running back, and he seldom allows a quarterback pressure. He was whistled for only two penalties all year.
Ben Grubbs, G, Ravens. Age: 28. Signed with Saints (5 years, $36 million; $16 million guaranteed)
Ben Grubbs missed half the year with a turf toe injury. He's a talented guard who is a slightly better run blocker than pass protector.
Steve Hutchinson, G, Vikings. Age: 34. Signed with Titans (3 years)
Steve Hutchinson will be 35 in November, but he's still getting it done. He was terrific this past season, and based on how long interior linemen can usually last, he should be able to play at a high level for a couple more years.
Evan Mathis, G, Eagles. Age: 30. Re-signed with Eagles (5 years, $25 million; $7 million guaranteed)
Evan Mathis didn't allow a single sack last year and opened up huge running lanes for LeSean McCoy. He was great in Howard Mudd's system. Mathis would be would be ranked higher than this if he weren't so injury-prone.
Travelle Wharton, G, Panthers. Age: 31. Signed with Bengals
Travelle Wharton is mediocre in pass protection, but he's one hell of a run-blocker. He was cut because he was owed almost $6 million in 2012. Wharton will be a good signing for power-blocking teams.
Mike Brisiel, G, Texans. Age: 29. Signed with Raiders (5 years, $20 million)
Mike Brisiel is a solid guard in a zone-blocking scheme. He pass protects well, though penalties are an issue.
Kraig Urbik missed some time with a sprained MCL, but didn't permit a single sack in 2011. He played effectively at center once Eric Wood went down.
Jake Scott, G, Titans. Age: 31.
Jake Scott is a good pass-protector, but struggles to open up running lanes. Considering his size (6-5, 292), that's not a surprise.
Vernon Carey, G, Dolphins. Age: 31.
There were some questions about Vernon Carey entering the 2011 campaign, but he held up pretty well at his new position. He gave up three sacks and was whistled for only one penalty all year.
Chad Rinehart (RFA), G, Bills. Age: 27. Re-signed with Bills (1 year, $1.26 million)
Chad Rinehart did a phenomenal job replacing Andy Levitre when the stud guard had to move around in the wake of injuries to Eric Wood and Demetrius Bell. Rinehart didn't allow a single sack.
Bobbie Williams, G, Bengals. Age: 35. Signed with Ravens
Bobbie Williams was missed after he landed on injured reserve with a broken ankle in early December. He's still getting the job done as a run-blocker, but he'll be 36 on Sept. 25.
Geoff Hangartner, G/C, Panthers. Age: 30. Re-signed with Panthers
The Bills jettisoned Geoff Hangartner, but he bounced back and actually performed pretty well for the Panthers at right guard.
Jeremy Zuttah, G/C, Buccaneers. Age: 26. Re-signed with Buccaneers
Jeremy Zuttah is a decent lineman who can play multiple positions. The Buccaneers had far worse starters on their roster.
Ramon Foster (RFA), G, Steelers. Age: 26. Re-signed with Steelers (1 year, $1.26 million)
Ramon Foster is a solid, but unspectacular guard who surrendered just three sacks this past season.
Montrae Holland, G, Cowboys. Age: 32.
Montrae Holland played pretty well at left guard for the Cowboys, but tore his biceps in late December.
Eric Steinbach, G, Browns. Age: 32. Signed with Dolphins
Eric Steinbach was once regarded as one of the better guards in the NFL, but he struggled in 2009 and 2010, and then missed all of 2011 with a back injury that required surgery. Perhaps he can rebound and become an effective player again, but that probably won't happen.
Robert Gallery, G, Patriots. Age: 32. Announced retirement
Robert Gallery used to be a very good guard, but various injuries have derailed his career. He could get healthy again, but then again, I could win the lottery tomorrow.