Saturday, February 15, 2014

Free Agency Bargains: Linval Joseph

We all know about the customary big name free agents, but who is available when we search the bargain bin? Daniel House will profile a list of affordable free agents in a daily series called "Free Agency Bargains." Today he takes a look at defensive tackle Linval Joseph and how he could impact the Vikings front-seven. 

Linval Joseph- DT

Age: 25

Height: 6'4"    Weight: 323

Drafted: 2nd Round, 46th overall in 2010 NFL Draft (East Carolina)

2013 Stats: 15 games, 3.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 56 tackles

Contract Demand: 4 years, $27 million, $8 million guranteed

Pro Football Focus Perspective: The highest ranked tackle for the New York Giants, Linval Joseph, was 21st among 4-3 defensive tackles with a + 10.5 grade.

VC's Opinion: 

-Have the Vikings had a solid defense since Pat Williams left the interior of the defensive line? I honestly don't think so and I firmly believe the team needs to find a massive defensive tackle that can play nose tackle this offseason. A good defense starts with strong interior pressure and the Vikings haven't had this at the nose tackle position in recent seasons. Whether this is addressed through the draft or free agency, I'm not sure, but Linval Joseph could be a legitimate option for this team.

-He has averaged 55 tackles and three sacks over the past three seasons of play, which is a testament to his consistency. Joseph has a massive frame and his unparalleled size has clogged the middle of the Giants run game for three seasons. Joseph hasn't been a great pass rusher, but his run defense has caused the pass rushing concern to become less of a worry. Many coaches and players have praised his durability as he has missed just one game in three seasons with the G-Men. We saw the effects of having a solid nose tackle in the Thursday Night Football matchup with the Redskins, when injuries forced Kevin Williams to shift to nose tackle and the Vikings displayed their best defensive performance of the season.

-The play of Letroy Guion has been very overrated and with a $2.2 million cap hit, it makes sense to part ways and sign a proven nose tackle in free agency. Joseph fits the mold in the middle of the defense and has played in the 4-3 scheme during his NFL career, which fits into Mike Zimmer's plans.

-Joseph could be franchise tagged by the Giants and he has expressed continued interest to remain with the team, but if he hits the free agent market, he could get a more lucrative contract in the process. The Giants may put on the full-court press, but if he is on the market in March, the Vikings could sign Joseph to a relatively affordable deal, while still being able to resign Everson Griffen and add a defensive back.

Sign or Pass?: Sign him if the market is low enough, but if his contract figures are high, lay off and find the right player in the draft.


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