2012 NFL Free Agents: Biggest Names Who'll Ink Big Contracts First

Justine BrownCorrespondent IIMarch 11, 2012

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The Indianapolis Colts’ announcement that they would be parting ways with longtime quarterback Peyton Manning has definitely sent fireworks through the free-agency market.  There is no question that Manning will be the hottest story during free agency, but a few other plays will make some noise of their own.

Before Manning was available, the Matt Flynn sweepstakes was all the rage, and Flynn is still going to be touted by a slew of teams. The 26-year-old Green Bay Packer backup quarterback has not had a ton of opportunities in the NFL thus far, but he has certainly taken advantage of the ones he has had, which is why a number of teams are interested.

Another offensive player who is going to be considered by quite a few teams should the New Orleans Saints decide not to re-sign him is guard Carl Nicks.  Nicks is widely regarded as the top guard in the league right now and would be an instant boost to anyone’s offensive line.

Wide receiver Vincent Jackson is another guy who is going to be a highly-targeted man this free agency.  Not only is Jackson one of the top wide receivers in this league, but the receiver position is an area of concern for a few organizations.

Lastly, it will be interesting to see where Houston Texans’ linebacker Mario Williams ends up. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, Williams has lived up to a lot of the hype, but the Texans’ don’t have the money to pay him.  Defenses will be licking their chops to get this guy on their roster.

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