It looks like there will be another safety to hit the open market come this Friday when free agency opens in the NFL.
According to the NFP’s Aaron Wilson, the Steelers will let starting free safety Ryan Clark test the free agent market, and there should be multiple teams who will inquire about his services.
Clark is often overshadowed in terms of media hype due to strong safety Troy Polamalu, but we can’t discount his impact in the Steelers secondary. He is a very good tackler in the open field, he can pressure, and in Dick LeBeau’s scheme, he is the perfect fit for the zone pressure game plans that we see on Sundays.
Yes, there is always a chance that the Steelers can reach an agreement with Clark before Friday, but more than likely they will have to outbid other clubs to get their free safety back into town. And, with their nickel safety, Tyrone Carter, already set to hit the market, the Steelers could be looking at filling depth along with a starting spot in their secondary.
I am a big fan of Clark’s game. He isn’t a big playmaker in terms of interceptions, but he is solid in the middle of the field, can control an entire secondary in terms of making the proper adjustments and is without a doubt one of the better students of the game when it comes to preparation and knowing what to expect from opposing offenses on Sunday. “Coachable” is a perfect word to fit Clark’s game.
But, how much value will Clark have as an unrestricted free agent?
I like him in a scheme similar to LeBeau’s. One that uses the free safety in the middle of the field to take vertical routes up the seam, drive downhill when they play their share of 2-Man and blitz in their pressure schemes.
A solid football player who can start for multiple franchises.
Could he be a fit in a Tampa 2 scheme, such as the one we see in Chicago from Lovie Smith’s Bears? Without a doubt. And the Bears could come calling if they are unable to land Cardinals safety Antrel Rolle — who is expected to be released before Friday. And, don’t discount New Orleans if they are unable to come to terms with Darren Sharper. Clark played under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and would be a perfect fit for the blitz-happy Saints.
Clark is a pro when it comes to Sundays, and if the Steelers are indeed going to let him walk, don’t be surprised to see him scooped up quickly this weekend.
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