There is nothing like hearing "THE Ohio State University" during the NFL line-up introductions. Now, some of these former Buckeye players will be introducing themselves to a new city after free agency. This year's current Buckeye free agents have a combined 74(!!!) seasons of experience; longevity in the league seems to be yet another Ohio State tradition.
While some will end up working out a new contract with their current team, others will find themselves shaking hands with a new head coach. Teams have already started dropping guys to make room in their salary cap, to make space for a rookie and any other number of reasons, and a few notable Buckeyes have already hit the free agency market.
Brian Hartline: In a surprising move by the Miami Dolphins, they released the seasoned wide receiver due to his high price tag. His production shouldn't have been called to question with two recent 1000-yard seasons, but Hartline's $6 million salary was the problem. There are several teams looking to strengthen their receiving corps and he shouldn't have any trouble signing with another city.
A.J. Hawk: As one of the more dynamic and remembered defensive players to come out of Ohio State, Hawk was just as feared in the NFL. Having played with the Green Bay Packers for his entire nine year career, he will likely be sporting a new set of colors come fall. He may have been a sidekick on the Packers defense, playing alongside Clay Matthews, but he could help a lot of teams add strength to their line.
Ted Ginn: As a former first-round draft pick, Ginn didn't have the expected success right out of the gate. He found his stride on special teams, and scored more touchdowns as a returner than a receiver. He played for the Carolina Panthers during the 2013 season and was able to show success as a regular target for Quarterback Cam Newton. Unfortunately, Ginn's last season with the Arizona Cardinals yielded another season as just a star returner, and landed him in free agency. He probably wont be on the market long, as he's already garnered interest from several teams including the Panthers and Browns (yes, the Cleveland Browns).
Mike Nugent: Not only a favorite among Buckeye fans, but this excellent kicker is also loved as a local down in Cincinnati. While his contract is up in March, the possibility of him re-signing with the Bengals to a short one or two year contract is pretty good. He may have missed some key field goals this past season, but his overall record is an impressive one, and he holds the second longest field goal record for the team with 57-yards. The next two draft classes will have a bevy of kicker options, and that's when Nugent should start worrying.
Dane Sanzenbacher: Essentially functioning as a back-up receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals the past three seasons, he saw more playing time in 2014 due to a litany of injuries that faced the starters. The Bengals could re-sign Sanzenbacher, but it's likely low on their priority list.
Full list of Buckeye free agents:
|Arizona Cardinals||Ted Ginn Jr.||Wide Receiver/ Special Teams||8 seasons|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Mike Nugent||Kicker||10 seasons|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Dane Sanzenbacher||Wide Receiver||4 seasons|
|Detroit Lions||Rob Sims||Guard||9 seasons|
|Green Bay Packers||A.J. Hawk||Inside Line Backer||9 seasons|
|Houston Texans||Ryan Pickett||Defensive Tackle||14 seasons|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Kurt Coleman||Safety||5 seasons|
|Miami Dolphins||Brian Hartline||Wide Receiver||6 seasons|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Will Allen||Safety||11 seasons|