2018 NFL Free Agents: Defensive Tackles

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2018 NFL Free Agency: Star rating is out of five. Age listing as of Sept. 1, 2018.
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  1. David Irving (RFA), DT, Cowboys. Age: 25.
    Tendered by Cowboys (2nd round)

    David Irving was dominant down the stretch in 2016, and he proved that wasn’t a fluke this past season. He was limited to just eight games because of a concussion and a suspension, but he was terrific in those eight contests, registering seven sacks, which is a high number for a player at his position in a full 16-game slate. Irving, just 25 in August, should continue to improve his game.

  2. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Dolphins. Age: 31.
    Signed with Rams (1 year, $14 million)

    The Dolphins signed Ndamukong Suh to a 6-year, $114 million contract with $60 million in guarantees three offseasons ago. It was argued that it was too much money for a single defensive player, and that turned out to be the case because Miami was just 22-26 with Suh. That pedestrian record isn’t Suh’s fault, as he played great in most of his games, but it just goes to show that a contract like that should only be reserved for quarterbacks. Suh is still a dominant force, but it’s unclear how long that will last. He just turned 31, so he could play on a high level for one or two more years before falling off.

  3. Sheldon Richardson, DE/DT, Seahawks. Age: 27.
    Signed with Vikings (1 year)

    Sheldon Richardson is an extremely talented defensive lineman, playing very strongly in the pass rush and run defense. He can play in both the 4-3 and 3-4, so he should garner tons of interest if he gets to the open market.

  4. Johnathan Hankins, NT, Colts. Age: 26.
    Signed with Raiders

    The Colts made a great trade with the Jets, but Frank Reich isn’t off to a good start as head coach of the Colts. He has decided to switch to a 4-3 Tampa-2 defense, which means his best defender, Johnathan Hankins, no longer fit the system. Hankins was cut as a result. Just 26, Hankins is a very talented defensive tackle who generates pressure on opposing quarterbacks and stuffs the run effectively when healthy. He’s currently one of the top free agents available, due to Indianapolis’ incompetence.

  5. Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Jets. Age: 28.
    Signed with Packers

    From 2012 to 2015, Muhammad Wilkerson was considered a top-five 3-4 defensive end. It could’ve even been argued that he was the second-best player at his position in the entire league, behind only J.J. Watt. Wilkerson was rewarded with a 5-year, $87 million deal in the summer of 2016. Ever since, however, Wilkerson has mailed it in. He disappointed on the field and had a habit of skipping team meetings. That said, Wilkerson is still just 28, and if he signs with a team that has a strong locker room, he could revert back to his pre-2016 playing days. He carries lots of risk though.

  6. Dontari Poe, NT, Falcons. Age: 27.
    Signed with Panthers

    Dontari Poe signed a 1-year “prove it” deal this past season after struggling his final year with the Chiefs. He responded well, playing well in both run support and the pass rush. I would be nervous to sign him to a long-term deal, but it could pay off if Poe lives up to his immense potential.

  7. Justin Ellis, NT, Raiders. Age: 27.
    Re-signed with Raiders (3 years, $15 million)

    Justin Ellis provides nothing as a pass-rusher – he has yet to register a full sack in his career – but he’s a monstrous run-stuffer. He won’t be 28 until after Christmas.

  8. DaQuan Jones, DT, Titans. Age: 26.
    Re-signed with Titans

    DaQuan Jones is a dominant run-stuffer who can also contribute as an interior pass-rushing presence. He had 3.5 sacks in 12 games this past season, which is solid for a 320-pound force. Unfortunately for Jones, he missed the end of the season with torn biceps.

  9. Dominique Easley, DT, Rams. Age: 26.
    Re-signed with Rams

    With all the Rams’ success in 2017, it’s easy to forget that they missed Dominique Easley for the entire season with a torn ACL. Easley is extremely talented, but has a long injury history; he’s missed 26 games in four NFL seasons.

  10. Bennie Logan, NT, Chiefs. Age: 28.
    Signed with Titans

    Bennie Logan doesn’t put much pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but he’s a tremendous run defender. He did fine after signing a 1-year “prove it” deal with the Chiefs last offseason, but more was expected from him.

  11. Nick Fairey, DT, Saints. Age: 30.
    Nick Fairley is a very disruptive interior force – 6.5 sacks in 2016 – and he’d be rated a lot higher than this if it wasn’t for his serious heart condition. There’s a chance Fairley may never play again.

  12. Kyle Williams, DT, Bills. Age: 35.
    Re-signed with Bills (1 year, $6 million)

    Because of his age, Kyle Williams is no longer the interior pass-rushing presence he once was – he logged 10.5 sacks in 2013 – however, he’s still tremendous in run support. He can also still get to the quarterback on occasion. He turns 35 in June, so there could be more regression on the way for the long-time Bill.

  13. Xavier Williams (RFA), NT, Cardinals. Age: 27.
    Signed with Chiefs

    Xavier Williams showed major signs of improvement this past season, serving as a stout run-plugger in the interior of Arizona’s defensive line. He also wasn’t horrible as a pass-rusher.

  14. Haloti Ngata, DT, Lions. Age: 34.
    Signed with Eagles (1 year)

    Haloti Ngata’s pass-rushing talent has eroded, but he’s still a dominant run-stuffer. Detroit’s ground defense worsened greatly when Ngata suffered a season-ending biceps tear.

  15. Jay Bromley, DT, Giants. Age: 26.
    Signed with Saints

    Jay Bromley, at 6-3, 314, is a capable run defender who is still young enough – 26 in May – to improve his game.

  16. Mitch Unrein, DE/DT, Bears. Age: 31.
    Signed with Buccaneers (3 years)

    Mitch Unrein has never had two or more sacks in a season, but that’s not his strength. He’s a terrific run-stuffer as a five-technique in a 3-4 defense.

  17. Olsen Pierre (RFA), DE/DT, Cardinals. Age: 27.
    Olsen Pierre was an undrafted free agent in 2015, and he hadn’t seen any action prior to this past season. Pierre was given an opportunity because of injuries, and he made the most out of it, clamping down as a tough run defender. He also produced several sacks.

  18. Denico Autry, DT, Raiders. Age: 28.
    Signed with Colts (3 years)

    Denico Autry could never be a starter because he’s too much of a liability against the run, but he’s a pretty potent pass-rushing specialist. He registered five sacks in limited snaps in 2017.

  19. Chris Baker, DT, Bengals. Age: 30.
    Chris Baker had a terrific season in 2016, and he signed a 3-year, $15.75 million contract last spring. He seemed like a great addition, but he slacked off in his new home and was ineffective. Baker is very talented, however, and he could bounce back if motivated.

  20. Brent Urban, DE/DT, Ravens. Age: 27.
    Re-signed with Ravens (1 year)

    Brent Urban was doing a solid job in run support for a couple of games this past season, but was knocked out in Week 3 with a Lisfranc fracture. It’s a shame because he had improved quite a bit since being a fourth-round pick in 2014.

  21. Tom Johnson, DT, Vikings. Age: 34.
    Signed with Seahawks (1 year)

    Tom Johnson has been a solid rotational defensive tackle over the years, playing well as a pass-rusher and run-defender. He turns 34 in August, so he’s bound to regress in the near future.

  22. Beau Allen, NT, Eagles. Age: 26.
    Signed with Buccaneers

    Beau Allen has been a solid rotational defensive lineman for the Eagles the past few seasons as a run-stuffing specialist.

  23. Star Lotulelei, DT, Panthers. Age: 28.
    Signed with Bills (5 years)

    Star Lotulelei was a first-round pick in 2013, but never lived up to that billing. He has just been a below-average player for most of his career, but has played well enough at times to warrant a two-star rating.

  24. Shamar Stephen, DT, Vikings. Age: 27. — Signed with Seahawks
  25. Karl Klug, DT, Titans. Age: 30.
  26. Mike Pennel, NT, Jets. Age: 27. — Re-signed with Jets
  27. Sylvester Williams, DT, Titans. Age: 29. — Signed with Lions
  28. Terrell McClain, DT, Redskins. Age: 30.
  29. Jordan Hill, DT, Lions. Age: 27.
  30. Jarvis Jenkins, DE/DT, Chiefs. Age: 30. — Re-signed with Chiefs
  31. Ahtyba Rubin, NT, Falcons. Age: 32. — Signed with Raiders
  32. Clinton McDonald, DT, Buccaneers. Age: 31. — Signed with Raiders
  33. Jamie Meder (RFA), DT, Browns. Age: 27. — Re-signed with Browns
  34. Billy Winn, DE/DT, Broncos. Age: 29.
  35. Cedric Thornton, DT, Bills. Age: 30. — Signed with 49ers
  36. Tyrunn Walker, DT, Rams. Age: 28.
  37. John Hughes, DT, Saints. Age: 29.
  38. Tony McDaniel, DT, Saints. Age: 33.
  39. Rakeem Nunez-Roches (RFA), DT, Chiefs. Age: 25.
  40. Pat Sims, DT, Bengals. Age: 32.
  41. Tenny Palepoi, DT, Chargers. Age: 27.
  42. Jared Crick, DE/DT, Broncos. Age: 29.
  43. John Jenkins, NT, Bears. Age: 29.
  44. Anthony Johnson (RFA), DT, Colts. Age: 25.
  45. Daniel McCullers, NT, Steelers. Age: 26. — Re-signed with Steelers
  46. David Parry (RFA), NT, Saints. Age: 26.
  47. Richard Ash (RFA), DT, Cowboys. Age: 26.
  48. Robert Thomas (RFA), NT, Giants. Age: 27.

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