2012 NFL Free Agents: 5 Restricted Free Agents of Potential Value on the Market
Prior to last season's lockout, restricted free agents were mostly an afterthought of NFL free agency. Without a first and third tender available this year, however, there figures to be some level of activity with some big names when free agency begins tomorrow.
There is value available for the teams who are willing to look for it and those who aren't too scared to sacrifice a draft pick or two in the process.
Here are five restricted free agents worth taking a look at during this NFL free agency period.
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Because of Jim Schwartz's philosophy of heavily rotating defensive linemen, the Detroit Lions' Sammie Hill has accrued a lot of snaps despite only starting for one season of his three-year career. Hill looks like a promising defensive tackle for 4-3 teams.
The Lions obviously have invested a lot in Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh at the position, while they also have Corey Williams, who is a vital player inside. They won't be able to commit too much to the 25-year-old Hill, while teams will only have to sacrifice a fourth-round draft pick to bring him aboard.
Webb is one of the most talented cornerbacks in the NFL, as his only real struggles in the league have been with injuries. Last year, Webb had his best season with the Ravens, who will be desperate to re-sign him.
Despite his first-round tender, there should be a very active market of teams looking to sign Webb.
Giving up a first-round pick for a proven cornerback with his best years ahead of him is nothing. Webb had five interceptions last year and looked fully recovered from the torn ACL he suffered earlier in his career.
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By now, everyone has heard about Mike Wallace's situation. The Steelers couldn't give him the franchise tag because of their cap situation, and because of the new rules, Wallace could only be tendered with compensation equivalent to a first-round draft pick.
For teams picking in the second half of the first round, Wallace is not an unrealistic option. A first-round pick for a young, leading receiver who has already proven himself at the NFL level is not a heavy price.
The San Francisco 49ers and, in particular, the New England Patriots could very easily bring in Wallace to flourish in their respective offenses. Instead of pitting hopes in a college prospect, paying the compensation for Wallace to lead a receiving corps appears to be an attractive avenue to explore.
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Urbik, who was actually selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers just after the team took Mike Wallace in the third round, was tendered by the Buffalo Bills on Monday. Urbik didn't make the Steelers roster, but he found a home in Buffalo and started 13 games last season at both center and guard.
Urbik ranked seventh among right guards in the NFL on Matt Miller's recent rankings.
Since the Bills tendered Urbik, teams will need to give them a third-round pick to sign him. However, at 26 years of age, you would expect him to still have his best years ahead of him. Urbik should be a tempting option for teams picking later in the third round, especially since versatile and talented offensive linemen aren't exactly easy to find.
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Keeping with a recurring theme here, the final pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers' third round in 2009 was a high school teammate of Mike Wallace before reuniting with him in Pittsburgh.
As the Steelers focus on retaining Wallace, another team could pluck the talented Lewis away from them for just a third-round pick.
Lewis has all the physical skills to be a starting cornerback in the NFL. He should be the team's starter next year after playing outside in nickel defenses last year. Lewis is a rangy cornerback with the ability to play press or off coverage. A team looking for corner help could prefer the youngster over those available in the third round this year.