When you think of building an offense, there are usually two positions that come to mind. Getting a quarterback and getting a left tackle to protect him.
But in today’s league, the importance between right and left tackle has blurred. Cleveland Browns’ right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, a fun Twitter follow, talked about how the position is just as important as the left, seeing a bevy of top pass rushers.
Von Miller, Justin Houston, Khalil Mack, JJ Watt, Carlos Dunlap, Cliff Avril (among others) all rush my side…so yes. https://t.co/O62zAMLTNB
— Mitchell Schwartz (@MitchSchwartz72) February 16, 2016
It’s a thoughtright tackle Marcus Gilbert could get on board with, taking to Instagram to agree with Schwartz.
Left tackles will always be the blind side protector for right hand quarterbacks, giving them inherently a tiny bit more value, but with the way defenses are set up, there are great pass rushers all over. Whether it’s defenses having two impact players or asking their best to flip sides, the old-hat idea of having a top pass rusher on the defense’s right is tossed out the window.
The view on what a right tackle should be is morphing. No longer are they the big, slogging, individuals who can run block but struggle in pass protection. The idea of “move him to right tackle” to hide his lack of lateral quickness no longer is valid, and that player is just as likely to get exposed.
Financially, the market value of right tackles are going to spike and get in line similar – though probably never equal – to their blindside counterparts. Gilbert, of course, signed a long-term, reasonably priced deal in 2014, a 5 year, $30 million deal where his cap number will never exceed $6.6 million in a given year, barring another contract restructure.