2013 NFL Free Agents: Stars Who Must Be Re-Signed This Offseason

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 03:  Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens passes the ball during warm-ups prior to Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

After the season he's had, there's no way Joe Flacco plays for anybody else but the Baltimore Ravens when the 2013 NFL season kicks off.

There were questions regarding where Flacco could lead the Ravens when it came to the postseason, but all of those doubts went out the window with the kind of postseason the five-year veteran has had.

In addition, Flacco also set a career high in passing yards, with 3,817. He's never had to be a prolific quarterback because he could rely on Ray Rice and a great defense. His best asset was his ability to manage the game.

But Flacco's game has been elevated as a result of the playoffs, and his bargaining position couldn't be any better as he looks to get a new contract this offseason.

The Ravens are not going to let the quarterback walk out the door after the season he's had.

Like Flacco, here's three other free agents their teams shouldn't let leave this offseason.


Ryan Clady, OT, Denver Broncos

Ryan Clady has become one of the best offensive tackles in the league. With the growing importance of the pass rush, it's vital that a team have the kind of rock on the offensive line that Clady is.

There could be some concern this offseason, though.

Mike Klis of the Denver Post reported that Clady suffered a right shoulder injury during the Divisional Round loss against the Ravens. He'll get surgery that will cause him to miss most offseason workouts.

Aside from that injury, 2012 was a very good season for Clady. He made the Pro Bowl and was also named to his third All-Pro team.

There's virtually no chance Clady leaves Denver this offseason.


Jairus Byrd, S, Buffalo Bills

Nobody in the AFC had more interceptions than Jairus Byrd. As a result, he was named to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams for the second time in his career. 2012 was the season Byrd firmly planted himself into the elite category in regard to NFL safeties.

Byrd is the complete safety that every team needs. He can defend the run and is one of the biggest ball hawks in the league.

After his rookie year, there may have been question marks as to whether Byrd would be able to continue that kind of production. Over his next three years in the league, Byrd has taken big steps in his career.

He's by far the best safety on the market, and it would be a huge mistake for Buffalo to let him get away.


Anthony Spencer, OLB, Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys may have some trouble finding the money to be able to re-sign Anthony Spencer.

He had long shown some potential, but 2012 was the first season where Spencer's talent showed up on the stat sheet. His 11 sacks and 55 tackles were both career highs.

The fact that Monte Kiffin is bringing in a 4-3 defense isn't a big deterrent for Spencer. Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com reported that Spencer would be willing to shift to defensive end rather than the customary outside linebacker where he's played his entire career.

Although re-signing Spencer should be a priority, it's a likelier option that the Cowboys look for another pass-rusher in the 2013 draft.