Quite a few key free agents have already been signed to new deals in the 2012 offseason, but there are still some big names that have yet to sign on the dotted line. We might be down to the "third-wave" of the 2012 free-agency season, so while the majority of big-name talent is gone, there are still some players available who can help teams out or at least improve their depth.
While team-needs continue to change with every new free-agent deal that is signed, the question then becomes, do you continue to sign more free agents for depth purposes or wait for the draft instead?
If you are the New England Patriots then you do both, as they have signed at least 10 free agents so far. When you consider how many draft picks they have in 2012, that seems like a lot of new players coming in to challenge for a roster spot on a team that won the AFC Championship game.
Some teams are waiting for some of the free agents to start dropping their current asking prices before they will swoop in with an offer. Other free agents need to finish their rehabs before they go on team visits, as they probably aren't ready to go through a complete team physical yet.
Then we have the restricted free agents and, as of now, we have yet to have any team come up with an offer sheet to a restricted free agent who was tendered an offer by his original team.
For the top remaining 36 free agents, we are going to predict who will wind up signing them to a new deal. Please note that we are focusing on unrestricted free agents, since the probability of any team actually trying to sign a restricted free agent is minimal at best. The only possible restricted free agent who could get an offer is Mike Wallace, so he will have his own bonus slide at the very end of the presentation.
Just on Wednesday alone, Mark Anderson, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Ronde Barber, Samson Satele and Brodrick Bunkley signed new deals. The Broncos traded Tim Tebow to the Jets, the NFL handed out the "bounty-penalties" to the New Orleans Saints and teams were trying to coax Aaron Schobel out of retirement. Ho hum.
The 36 players are listed in alphabetical order. I started the week with more than 50 names, but every day more free agents keep signing new offers, shrinking the presentation down to the current size.