The rumors and speculation all come to a head today as teams and agents negotiate and work out deals for the top free agents on the market.
In 2009, the New Orleans Saints proved that the free agent formula, if executed correctly over time,
can produce a dynamic team and win a Super Bowl. And with the uncappedyear officially underway…the possibilities for this year seem endless.
Of course, I’m slightly biased as the New York Giants have reportedly offered former Arizona
Cardinals, FS Antrel Rolle his asking price of $8 million a year. Because of their interest Rolle has made New York the first stop on his road to land a team, and it is my hope it’s last. The former Miami
Hurricane would add the strength and balance the Giants need in the defensive secondary and, paired with current Giants safety, Kenny Phillips, would create one of the best safety tandems in the league. Can you say SOLD! The Giants better do everything they can to land this guy.
Also in contention for Rolle however, are the Miami Dolphins who reportedly offered a five-year deal
for less money than the Giants. And late last night after being the top contender for Rolle all day, the Chicago Bears were completely ruled out of the running’s, as it appears clear they have their sights
set on former Carolina Panthers DE Julius Peppers. And of course the Arizona Cardinals will do all they can to woe him back. Rolle who had 72 tackles last year and four interceptions, reportedly said no to an offer from the Cardinals that was worth $32.6 million over six seasons. But until he’s signed to a new team I’m not ruling them out.
For everyone else, here’s a list of the top 50 unrestricted free agents from MSNBC. This list does not include restricted free agents that require trade compensation in return. Previous team is listed in parenthesis.
My personal thoughts listed as well…
1. Julius Peppers, DE (Panthers) (Khai’s thoughts…Possibly the best DE (sorry Tuckie poo) in the league, the Bears and Redskins are the top suitors and I pray he stays out of the NFC East)
He’s not Reggie White, but Peppers is the best pass rusher to hit free agency since the Hall of Famer. He’ll cost an insane amount of money for a player with inconsistent effort, but is undoubtedly one of the league’s most talented players. Seattle, Washington, and Chicago are possibilities.
2. Karlos Dansby, LB (Cardinals) (Khai’s thoughts…in a conversation with someone earlier, I guess the Cards couldn’t afford to maintain that defense, but this is one player they will miss. I’d like to see him in a Giants uniform…but I smell a Cardinals push to keep him)
It’s a big drop to number two on this list. Dansby is a smart, versatile linebacker who excels in coverage. He a knack for big plays, but has yet to make a single Pro Bowl.
3. Dunta Robinson, CB (Texans)
He’s a good, not great, young cornerback who is about to be paid like a Hall of Famer. The Falcons are interested.
4. Aaron Kampman, DE (Packers)
Kampman looked like a fish out of water as a linebacker in Green Bay’s 3-4 defense. He fits better as a rock-solid starting defensive end. He’s coming off a torn ACL.
5. Antonio Bryant, WR (Bucs)
Sure, he’s a head case. But he’s a head case in his prime who can stretch the field! Towels not included.
6. Antrel Rolle, S (Cardinals) (Khai’s thoughts…GIANTS! At least I pray…)
He’s going to do well for someone who was once benched for Rod Hood. A failed cornerback, Rolle is an above-average free safety. In this market, he may become the richest player at his position.
7. Leigh Bodden, CB (Patriots)
A solid starting cornerback who has size and playmaking ability. He should be a better value than Dunta Robinson.
8. Chad Clifton, T (Packers)
Clifton has some knocks against him (34-years-old, so-so run blocker), but he’s easily the best pass protector on the market.
9. Dwan Edwards, DE (Ravens)
Young linemen who don’t mind doing the dirty work are hard to find. The Ravens pedigree helps.
10. Gary Brackett, LB (Colts)
A classic undersized linebacker with incredible leadership skills, Brackett is worth more to the Colts than anyone else. Only 28 and is low maintenance.
11. Ben Watson, TE (Patriots) (Khai’s thoughts…with a struggling Patriots offense losing Watson isn’t really good for them. But there are many teams who need a good physical TE like Watson)
Watson is athletic, can play every down, and will help a team in the red zone. Just don’t expect him to be a huge difference maker.
12. Kevin Walter, WR (Texans)
A secondary receiver with size, Walter gets a huge bump because he’s only 28 and is low maintenance.
13. Terrell Owens, WR (Bills) (Khai’s thoughts…seriously T.O. Why not go for the record in teams played for by a single player…)
He’s like Walter, except the exact opposite. T.O. can still help a team out as a second receiver if he can accept the role.
14. Darren Sharper, S (Saints) (Khai’s thoughts…sure he’s fine, but he’s also old and it’s highly doubtful he’ll do for any other team what he did for the Saints. Buyer beware!)
Overrated because he’s a stat-hound who struggles in run support, Sharper still is a weapon if used correctly. He’ll likely wind up back in New Orleans.
15. Thomas Jones, RB (Jets) (Khai’s thoughts…I heard he owns a record company. *blank stare* Maybe he has a future in rap)
Was his late-season decline because of overuse or is age about to catch up to Jones, 31? He’s a committee back stopgap at worst.
16. Chester Taylor, RB (Vikings) (Khai’s thoughts…he’s visiting today with the Bears. And signs may point to him landing there. Not sure how effective but I like his chances)
Taylor is one of the best third-down backs and doesn’t have nearly as much mileage on his legs as bigger-named over-30 backs.
17. Lito Sheppard, CB (Jets) (Khai’s thoughts…only being retained by the Jets for one year isn’t a good look. Particularly with the successful season the Jets had. Buyer definitely beware)
He’s competent, young and has starting experience. An acceptable starter, but two teams have let him go.
18. Kyle Vanden Bosch, DE (Titans)
The Titans can spot good defensive linemen, so it’s not a great sign they are letting him walk away.
19. Derrick Mason, WR (Ravens) (Khai’s thoughts…I’m not a fan, he’s like the Amani Toomer of the Ravens. It worked for them but probably won’t for many other teams)
Still putting up 1,000-yard seasons as a possession receiver, year after year.
20. Ryan Clark, S (Steelers)
He wouldn’t look as good away from Troy Polamalu, but Clark could be a good value for a team looking for an enforcer.
21. Justin Bannan, DT (Ravens)
Little known Ravens reserve has some upside.
22. Bobbie Williams, G (Bengals)
Williams, 33, is a mauler in the running game.
23. Derrick Burgess, LB/DE (Patriots)
Took a while to adjust to playing linebacker in New England, but he closed the season strong. New England traded two mid-round picks for him only a year ago.
24. Adewale Ogunleye, DE (Bears) (Khai’s thoughts…he used to be one of my favorite DE’s. I’m not sure what happened to his allure or if he just needs a change of scenery but the team that lands him gets a lot for what he can no longer command in a contract.)
He would best be used as a situational pass rusher now. Quality linemen swallow him whole.
25. Stephen Neal, G (Patriots)
We’re afraid of what the former NCAA champion wrestler would do if we didn’t rank him this high.
26. Jason Taylor, LB (Dolphins) – (Khai’s thoughts…Seems like he just came back to the Dolphins.Dolphins…Redskins, Dolphins…free agent?
Far from his peak, Taylor is still a useful tool when his snaps are limited.
27. Leonard Little, DE (Rams) (Khai’s thoughts…I like this guy a lot. Coming from such a bad team may hurt his luster but he’s a solid player that has some good years left.)
Washington and St. Louis would both love to have Little as a situational pass rusher if he chooses not to retire.
28. Chad Pennington, QB (Dolphins) (Khai’s thoughts…the team that’s foolish enough to sign him is well, just plain foolish. Pennington is too fragile!)
There are two ways to look at his last shoulder surgery — He had no arm strength anyway; and what arm strength will he have left?
29. Joey Porter, LB (Dolphins) (Khai’s thoughts…I am no fan of Porter and believe he’s completely washed up. The Steelers were smart when they let him go when they did. Another buyer beware)
His mouth is looking for a check his play can no longer cash.
30. Nate Burleson, WR (Seahawks) (Khai’s thoughts…I guess someone had to replace Roy Williams and Burleson is a solid receiver that needed to get from under the TJ Whosyourmama spotlight)
Signed with Detroit
Wildly up-and-down career went back up during a contract year. Where the cash at?
31. Brian Westbrook, RB (Eagles) (Khai’s thoughts…good player and guy. But his health both mental and physical are too fragile right now. I don’t see it but I’ve been wrong before.)
Westbrook could help a team if he gets medically cleared. Huge if.
32. Scott Fujita, LB (Saints)
Valued veteran leader seems likely to return to New Orleans.
33. Keith Bulluck, LB (Titans)
A torn ACL late in the season crushed his free agent stock. He’s worth a shot because of his leadership.
34. Chris Chambers, WR (Chiefs)
He’s a stop-gap solution, but not a bad one. He re-ignited his career with a nice run in Kansas City.
35. Tully Banta-Cain, LB (Patriots)
9.5 sacks have rarely been given so little league-wide respect. (His unsuccessful try to leave the Patriots last
time is one reason why.)
36. LaDainian Tomlinson, RB (Chargers) (Khai’s thoughts…his ranking as a free agent says it all. I was hoping the Texans made a jump for him. but they’re not, so um yeah. Good luck!)
We’re not even sure he would be a good role player at this point. And we’re almost certain he doesn’t truly want to be a role player.
37. Jamal Williams, DT (Chargers)
It’s not a good sign the Chargers couldn’t find anyone to trade for him before they cut him.
38. Roy Williams, S (Bengals) (Khai’s thoughts…I still wish he was a Cowboy. I miss the days when a TE was open all game.)
The former Cowboy can hit, but he can’t cover.
39. Tony Pashos, T (49ers)
He could slip under the radar because he was hurt all last year. A fine run-blocker, Washington should show interest.
40. David Carr, QB (Giants) (Khai’s thoughts…Carr deserves another shot as a starter. But I’m selfish and want him to stay.)
He’s sat on the bench long enough for everyone to forget how bad he was. (In all seriousness, he’s worth a gamble.)
41. Jimmy Kennedy, DT (Vikings)
He could help a team in a defensive line rotation.
42. Shayne Graham, K (Bengals) (Khai’s thoughts…looking for that Janikowski money I’m sure.)
His season ended horribly in the playoffs, but he’s had a solid career.
43. Willie Parker, RB (Steelers) (Khai’s thoughts…Does anyone remember when this dude was known as “fast Willie Parker”? Yeah neither do the Steelers)
44. Neil Rackers, K (Cardinals) (Khai’s thoughts…see Shayne Graham.)
Once named the NFL’s sexiest man.
45. Torry Holt, WR (Jaguars) (Khai’s thoughts…can you say Chicago Bears, Mike Martz, Jay Cutler and Championship! Ok maybe not that far but he belongs in Chicago for Cutler’s sake.)
He needs to play on turf and came off the bench.
46. Nick Harper, CB (Titans)
Way older than you think (35) because he didn’t play a NFL game until he was 27. He fits best in a zone defense.
47. Kevin Faulk, RB (Patriots) (Khai’s thoughts…I believe he won’t stay on the market too long not with all of the Belichick disciple’s running around.)
48. Chris Redman, QB (Falcons)
Re-signed with Atlanta
He’s quietly a competent backup if you need quarterback help.
49. Larry Johnson, RB (Bengals) (Khai’s thoughts…how fast some players fall. He still has a career with the Roc Nation. *throws diamond up*)
Dick Vermeil once said it was time for L.J. to get out of his diapers. In running back years, he’s now closer to Depends.
50. Laveranues Coles, WR (Bengals) (Khai’s thoughts…the Bengals should hold onto the Coles…he played well for them. This ones is a little perplexing to me.)
A great competitor, Coles’ body has taken a lot of abuse. He’s a small receiver without any speed, which is not an ideal combination.
As the day goes on, this post will be updated with signings. Stay tuned!