With the optimism surrounding the mediation talks between the NFL and the NFLPA*, we can kind of start to begin looking again at the possibilities of the offseason. Evan Silva of Rotoworld.com and ProFootballTalk.com (and friend of the blog) took a look at The 2011 Defense Market for Rotoworld.
Find out after the jump who he pegs for the Jacksonville Jaguars and if they have any defensive trade candidates.
Barrett Ruud, linebacker
Scouting Report:Incredibly productive, Ruud has ranked fourth, second, and 18th in the league in tackles over the past three seasons. Unfortunately, Ruud's tackle numbers don't translate to stout defense, as the Bucs have ranked 19th, 32nd, and 28th against the run. Ruud is a gifted athlete with sideline-to-sideline range, but the majority of his tackles occur downfield. He is a three-down linebacker with cover skills. It's possible that Ruud's best position would be on the weak side, where he could worry less about run plugging and just let his athleticism take over.
Availability:Ruud, 28, is an unrestricted free agent and available to the highest bidder. While Raheem Morris has toed the company line by saying the Bucs want Ruud back, the team's actions speak louder than their words; they drafted middle linebacker of the future Mason Foster with the 84th overall pick. Ruud is likely to land elsewhere, and the Jaguars make sense as a linebacker-needy team that could use a reliable young tackler in the middle or on the weak side.
Prediction: Jaguars on a five-year, $34 million contract.
Now, I'm not sure if the Jaguars would throw that kind of money at Ruud, but he's arguably the best available free agent linebacker and would fit their current defensive scheme nicely. The Jaguars currently need two more starting linebackers, given who's actually on the roster as it stands.
Silva also marks defensive end Derrick Harvey as a possible trade candidate.