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The Offensive Lineman Bubble

A fascinating article at Turf Show Times today—a look at whether or not the offensive lineman bubble has burst. People in St. Louis and Chicago who watched the incredibly brief end of Orlando Pace's career will probably agree with Ryan Van Bibber's conclusions—

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When teams don't let their blockers leave in the prime of their career that leaves teams little choice other than going to the well in April for their cornerstone offensive linemen...unless they want to spend big bucks on an older guy.

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The price of older offensive linemen is down. Fetching a bounty via trade rarely happens in the NFL as it is, since teams don't usually trade players in the prime of their career like you see in Major League Baseball. So players like Barron and Brown are getting shipped off as extra parts that teams would be unlikely to keep on the roster given the costs of keeping them as backups. Still, it's surprising to see two players, at such a premium position, dealt for returns that seem small.

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Offensive linemen hitting the free agent market will still fetch big contracts, simply because of the law of scarcity. However, the irrational exuberance that once handed out elite-level contracts to middling starters or aging Pro Bowlers seems to have passed. Lesson learned...for now.

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