2013 NFL Free Agents: Top Available Players to Keep an Eye on This Offseason

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IJanuary 14, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 02:  Running back Steven Jackson #39 of the St. Louis Rams runs up the field during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at the Edward Jones Dome on December 2, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
David Welker/Getty Images

Although the NFL playoffs are still going strong, the offseason has already begun for 28 of the league's 32 teams.

The first task before the arrival of the 2013 NFL draft is to tackle free agency. And while many standout players are set to re-sign with their current team or get hit with the franchise tag, some others could potentially be on the move. 

Here we'll take a closer look at three of the top available playmakers that fans should look out for this offseason.


Greg Jennings, WR

The veteran wideout will turn 30 in September, but he's still got plenty left in the tank and lots to offer an NFL offense, including a great pair of hands that have assisted him in recording three 1,000-yard seasons with the Packers. 

Unfortunately, prior to the 2012 season, durability hadn't been an issue for Jennings, but with a nagging groin injury keeping him out of eight of Green Bay's 16 regular-season games this past season, most teams will be wondering whether Jennings can stay healthy for an entire season once entering his 30s.

Jennings had the following to say about his future after Saturday's playoff loss in San Francisco (via PackersNews.com's Weston Hodkiewicz):

It’s been great. I love this organization. The reality is there will probably be some changes made. Hopefully, I’m here, but if not I’m ready to move wherever. It is what it is. I’m not naive to that, being a realist. I love this organization. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else, but if I have to, that’s what I’m ready to do.

There is a possibility that Jennings winds up in Green Bay next season, but there's also the strong chance that he doesn't considering the emergence of Randall Cobb as the Packers' leading receiving in 2012. 


Jairus Byrd, S

Free-agent safety Jairus Byrd is entering his prime. He'll turn 27 in October and can offer a whole lot to any NFL team next season and beyond. 

It's very unlikely that the Bills let Byrd get away from them this offseason however. He's played in all 16 regular-season games for Buffalo in each of the past three seasons and has recorded an impressive 18 interceptions since the start of 2009.

The 5'10", 200-pound former Oregon Duck has also forced 10 fumbles in four seasons, proving to be one the NFL's elite game changers on the defensive end. Fans should be sure to keep an eye on Byrd, as well as Ed Reed this offseason. The two are the top free-agent safeties out there. 


Steven Jackson, RB

Steven Jackson will turn 30 this July, which could be enough to scare potential suitors considering the short life span of NFL running backs these days.

Jackson is a free agent this offseason and will look to take his power running game elsewhere after having played his entire NFL career in St. Louis with the Rams. A career 10,000-yard rusher, Jackson has surpassed 1,000 yards rushing in each of the past eight seasons, proving to be a consistent runner if nothing else. 

At 6'2", 240 pounds, Jackson is still a load to bring down and essentially a lock to averaged four yards per carry wherever he winds up in 2013. 


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