2012 NFL Free Agency: Ranking the Top Remaining Players Available
With the NFL's free-agency period winding down, we have seen all of the major blockbuster signings that are going to take place in 2012. Though the talent pool is unsurprisingly drained after weeks of free-for-all, there is still a considerable number of desirable players floating around thanks to a very deep free-agent class.
With the 2012 NFL draft mere weeks away, teams will be looking to fill roster holes on the cheap before deciding who they want out of college.
These remaining free agents should find homes before the draft, and will come at affordable prices.
8. Dan Koppen, C
Dan Koppen has made his career out of keeping Tom Brady on his feet, and done a pretty good job of it at that.
The 32-year-old is an unrestricted free agent and has yet to sign a contract with the only team he's ever played for.
The NFL has a dearth of good, reliable centers who can stay healthy, and Koppen only missed seven games in his career before fracturing his fibula early last season.
He will find a job soon enough, and New England would be silly to let him walk.
7. Jim Leonhard, SS
Jim Leonhard is recovering from a torn patellar tendon, and will likely find himself on the PUP list for the start of the 2012 NFL season. Having said that, he is one of the better defensive free agents left on the market.
With a bulldoggish playing style, endless motor and the ability to contribute both in the secondary and on special teams, Leonhard is an excellent bargain for any team looking for veteran help in the secondary. He can step onto any team and play a leadership role off the bat.
The Jets can attest to their defensive prowess without the little guy; they held opponents to 17 points per game with Leonhard in 2010, but allowed 23.4 after the safety went down. Their 2011 season was already in a tailspin when he was lost in Week 14, but the effect was similar.
6. Leroy Hill, OLB
Leroy Hill is a solid three-down outside linebacker with no serious liabilities. He can cover, rush the passer and stop the run.
Despite a checkered career in terms of health, he managed to escape getting hurt during the 2011 campaign, which is a promising sign.
He's also on the right side of 30. His lack of a contract is rather baffling.
5. Marcus McNeill, OT
Marcus McNeill is one of the league's best offensive tackles when he is healthy, which is unfortunately not always the reality.
A high-risk, high-reward signing, McNeill will pay massive dividends if he stays on the field and drain salary cap if he can't.
4. Neil Rackers, K
He's an 80 percent career field-goal kicker who has missed a grand total of 12 games in his 12-year career. His kicking percentages the past four seasons? They are 89.3, 94.1, 90.0 and 84.2.
He still hasn't signed, even though his age (36) is young for a kicker.
The Houston Texans would be the ultimate losers of the offseason if they don't re-sign him.
Then again, they gave away DeMeco Ryans and cut Eric Winston, so who knows what they'll do, right?
3. London Fletcher, ILB
In spite of his advanced age (36), London Fletcher continues to play at an extremely high level.
This guy has never missed a game in his entire career. He compiled 96 solo tackles in the 2011 season and is also a veteran leader whose voice can instantly quiet the huddle or locker room.
Obviously his age is a bit of a concern, but clearly he has plenty left in the tank. Any team should be welcoming him with open arms.
2. Lardarius Webb, CB
Living up to his status as one of the best young corners in the NFL, Lardarius Webb allowed a 54.6 completion percentage in 2011. He also picked off seven passes and never gave up a touchdown.
The Baltimore Ravens have given him a first-round tender, but he has yet to sign a contract. Teams should be lining up to throw offer sheets at him.
1. Mike Wallace, WR
Mike Wallace is his own worst enemy. Easily the best free-agent wide receiver of the 2012 class, he decided that his first non-rookie deal should be worth more than Larry Fitzgerald's $120 million contract (per the Sacramento Bee).
Even with his absurdly astronomical demands, Mike Wallace is a very productive receiver with enormous upside. He is arguably among the top 10 receivers in the NFL.
Since no team is giving him a monster deal anytime soon, the Pittsburgh Steelers just might luck out and get him for 2012 on the $2.74 million restricted free-agent tender.
He'll have to blow his career-high 1,257 yards out of the water if he wants big money in 2013.