Top 10 NFL Free Agents
NFL’s free agency period begins March 12, and there are plenty of familiar names that may find new homes for the upcoming season.
Here’s a full list of free agents by team compiled by NFL.com.
Unless teams can come to agreements on new deals before then, they will become unrestricted free agents when the signing period begins next month.
Here are the top 10 overall best players available: (not by position)
10. Sebastian Vollmer, OL-
Vollmer only O-lineman to make this list. Jake Long and Max Starx are a little older and have not performed as well as Vollmer, and Ryan Clady might sign a franchise tender to stay with Denver, according to reports. Vollmer was a big part of a good O-line on a very efficient Patriots offense. He’s had injury problems in his first years, but he played most of this season without major issues.
9. Brian Urlacher, MLB-
He is definitely much older and much slower–especially after his late-2011 hip injury. But Urlacher is still an effective gap-filling run stopper and a defensive leader. The firing of Lovie Smith could probably be what ultimately drives the future hall of fame linebacker out of Chicago. In my opinion, he’s the best run stopper on the market. Still, at 34, it’s very doubtful he’ll command a long-term contract.
8. Mike Wallace -
Mike Wallace is likely done with Pittsburgh. He is perhaps the most valuable speed asset on the free agent market. But other than that, Wallace does not possess the kind of skill that other available wide receivers may have. Last year he was very prone to dropped balls, especially in big situations. Signing Wallace could bring an added dimension to an offense if he’s paired with a quarterback with a big arm.
7. Dashon Goldson, S -
He was the hard hitter in the secondary on a Super Bowl defense, and his name was heard often on Sundays. He’s 28, and has nine interceptions in the last two seasons. Most teams drew up game plans away from him.
6. Dwayne Bowe, WR-
Bowe is the receiver with the most complete set of skills in this year’s free agency. At 28, he could be a good quarterback away from a true breakout season. Even though Bowe is just getting off an incredibly rich contract in which he under-performed, he is good enough to warrant another. Bowe has a nice career statline with 39 touchdowns, but never had a good quarterback in most of his time with Kansas City.
5. Reggie Bush, RB-
Even on a terrible offense, Bush managed to rush for 2,000 yards in the last two years, and can still be a force as a receiver. Bush could be the missing piece for a team like the Packers or the Jets, who could use a speed back who could run routes out wide or out of the backfield.
4. Aqib Talib, CB-
Small guy, but he is the best man-coverage corner on the on the market. Playing in Bellichick’s defense for half of last season could give him added value for versatility in zone schemes– but it’s probably not that type of defense that’ll be looking for him. He could be outmatched my some of the bigger elite go-up-and-get’em receivers like A.J. Green, Julio Jones, and Calvin Johnson, but he could stick to almost anybody no matter how fast or how skilled a route runner the receiver may be.
3. Greg Jennings, WR-
Hands down the best hands on the free agent market. And it seems he’s been crowded out after last year’s injury in Green Bay. He’s not a speed burner like other free agents Mike Wallace and Devery Henderson.
2. Cliff Avril, DE/OLB-
A very good mix of speed and power rushing. The Lions might just let him fly to make cap room for other big-name players on the roster. The 26-year-old has a good sack total in each of his pro-seasons, and is usually a terror for quarterbacks. He is usually fast enough to contain speedy runners on the outside. Avril had a nice year last year after signing a $10.6 million franchise tender with the Lions. The Lions haven’t gotten a new deal with him yet, making him a potential big free agent come next month.
1. Joe Flacco, QB-
The guy just won the Super Bowl, and looked very good doing it. Ray Lewis has named him a successor as leader of the team going forward. He wants to stay in Baltimore, but if he takes a contract that’s too big, the team might have problems holding on to other free agents from their Super Bowl team and finding replacements for older players.
Some big money offerings by other teams could force the Ravens to break the bank on Flacco. You could expect at least a few teams will throw out nine-figure offers at the Super Bowl MVP. Suspects for bidders are the Jets, Chiefs and Cardinals who have been desperate for a franchise quarterback.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN– In summary of this sub-list, most of these guys are older by NFL standards, which means they probably won’t be offered large long-term deals. But each of the players listed have top-echelon NFL skills that can make them a nice addition to many teams. With the exception of Green and Jackson, each of these players are north of age 30. Jackson turns 30 this July.
Is there anyone unjustly overlooked? Leave a comment below!