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Defensive End Roundup - Jason Taylor or Vonnie Holliday?

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DE Jason Taylor was just released by Washington. His awful (for him) 2008 season is a giant warning sign that, at age 35, he's done. But he was an elite pass rusher as recently as 2007. He wouldn't start at right defensive end; at 255 lbs. he's undersized for a defensive end in a 3-4 defense. But he would play a lot as a hybrid right OLB/DE. Unfortunately teams have lost their mind with insane contracts for defensive lineman this offseason, see DT Colin Cole, and I expect there is enough crazy free agent money out there that someone will overpay for him. So far, there are 12 teams interested in him. Also, after watching DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila go from a quality speed rusher to useless and released in one season, I'm very concerned that the decline Taylor suffered last season is real.

Here are the stats last season for some defensive lineman:

Games Sacks Tackles
16 3.5 29
15 2.0 20
14 0 24
10 2.5 22

In order, those are the 2008 stats for DE Vonnie Holliday, DE Igor Olshansky, DE Marques Douglas, DE Chris Canty and DE Mike Wright. Why these players? Because they've been discussed as possibilities for the Packers here, here, and here.

Holliday is a former Packer 1st round pick that underachieved in the late 1990s. Olshansky was benched late last season in San Diego. Douglas signed a free agent contract in Tampa last season, and was such a disappointment he was traded to Baltimore before the season even began. Canty just got overpaid at $7 million per season. Wright would be missed in New England, but there is no starting job available for him and it doesn't make sense to pay him like a starter.

The one thing they all have in common; their previous teams aren't going to keep them (so far).

The moral here is that there are a lot of players like this available around the league and there is no need to overpay for them. Or it's easy to find and replace players like them.