The crazy time of year that is free agency is fast approaching, so KCChiefs.com has you covered with a 30-day free agency look, highlighting the 30 most intriguing free agents or players who could be released/traded during the offseason.
You may have noticed, there are no restricted free agents on the list, largely because they rarely leave their current teams. None of the reports are indicative of the Chiefs plans for the 2013 free agency season.
DAY 1 of 30:
Name: Jake Long
Born: May 9, 1985 (Detroit, MI)
Experience: 5 years
Drafted: 2008, 1st Round-1st pick overall by the Miami Dolphins
Jake Long's 2012 season was shortened, due to a triceps injury that sidelined the tackle after Week 12. It was the second-consecutive season in which Long wasn't able to compete in all 16 regular season games, after doing so during his first three years in the league (2008-10).
Long's size and physical strength are obvious pluses, which helped him become the #1 overall pick in the 2008 draft.
Playing under pressure is another of Long's strengths as well, especially with few at his position being selected as the league's top pick in the NFL Draft.
In 2008, Long became just the fourth overall No. 1 selection since 1970, when the AFL and NFL merged, to play in the Pro Bowl following his rookie campaign. He is the first since New Orleans Saints RB George Rogers, who accomplished the feat in 1981. Jake joins the exclusive company of Rogers, Houston Oilers RB Earl Campbell (1978) and Detroit Lions RB Billy Sims (1980), who were each selected to the annual NFL all-star game after being the top selection. http://www.miamidolphins.com/team/roster/Jake-Long/f58ace2a-852e-4a79-b8ff-b2ee22c95472
Is the 6'7 tackle able to overcome injuries and return to his dominating potential?
Long's triceps injury, which he suffered during the Week 13 matchup against the New England Patriots, is the second season-ending injury he's sustained in as many years. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Long is ranked 47th out of 75 tackles this season, compared to his 21st ranking in 2011, second in 2010 and second again in 2009. http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000106053/article/jake-long-placed-on-miami-dolphins-injured-reserve
Penalties and more injury talk
Long led the team in penalties in 2012, seven in 12 games and allowed four sacks. In addition to his torn biceps muscle injury last season, he has also had surgeries to repair a torn labrum and had ligament damage in both knees, during his five-year career.
It is extremely difficult to pick against a former No. 1 overall draft pick and that title will draw the interest of many teams, despite the previous two lackluster seasons, caused by injury. I like the way ESPN NFL Insider Bill Polian described Long's situation.
"His reputation will make him an A player, but he is an injury and age concern to me," Polian said. "He is turning only 28 to start next season, but he already has played 74 games, making a long-term deal a risk. He's missed time the past two seasons as well. Someone will pay him, though."