Cliff Avril is one of the better free agents available in 2013, but is he No. 1?
With free agency for the 2013 NFL season set to begin Tuesday, March 12 at 4 p.m. ET, we've put together our final list of the 100 best players available. This big board will give you all the information you need for one of the deepest free-agent classes in recent memory.
Teams that are in need of help in the secondary are in luck, as cornerbacks and safeties make up 24 of our top 100 players. However, teams looking for help along their offensive line will need to strike early, as O-linemen only make up 12 of our top 100 players.
This time of year is one of the most exciting times in the NFL offseason. So, grab a drink, get comfortable and enjoy working through our final top 100 big board for the 2013 NFL free-agency period.
It's been years since Randy Moss has looked anything like his old self.
He recorded only 28 receptions for 434 yards and three touchdowns in 2012. However, a team willing to take a chance on Moss could find a quality deep threat.
Moss will need to prove that he's still committed to the game of football, but if he can show that, he should be on a roster in 2013.
Due to the fullback position becoming more and more versatile, a true fullback like Darrel Young becomes less valued.
With that said, Young was a key part of rookie Alfred Morris' 1,600-yard season for the Washington Redskins. Young is a talented blocker who can also make plays as a receiver.
He'll likely be back with the Redskins blocking for Morris in the 2013 season.
As a 31-year-old quarterback, Jason Campbell isn't likely to see much action in free agency this year. It's been two years since he's started a game and it's hard to imagine a team offering him a starting job this offseason.
However, if Campbell signs with a team desperate for a quarterback like the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills or Jacksonville Jaguars, he could certainly get a shot to win the starting job. He's certainly got the experience and abilities to be a serviceable starter, but he would only be considered a stop-gate until something better came along.
Don't be surprised if Campbell's name gets thrown around by some teams, but he may ultimately re-sign with the Chicago Bears.
Mike DeVito doesn't get much recognition from the media, but he is the type of hard-working defensive end that teams love. He plays at 100 percent and doesn't mind doing the dirty work necessary to succeed in the NFL.
While DeVito's not going to get a ton of sacks, he can be a major asset in boosting a team's run defense. His best fit is in a 3-4 defense where he can be a rotational player.
With the New York Jets without much cap room this offseason, DeVito should be playing for a new team in 2013.
Lawrence Tynes is coming off one of his best seasons of his career. He completed 84.6 percent of his field-goal attempts this past season, and his 46 extra points were the second-most of his career.
At 34 years old, he presumably still has plenty of time left in the league. The New York Giants would be foolish to let Tynes leave.
Despite starting every game for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Casey Hampton only managed to play 503 snaps on the year. That's a testament to both his age (he'll be 36 in September) and dwindling impact on the field.
Hampton finished the year as the 77th-best defensive tackle/nose tackle in the league, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), and was at his worst when asked to get pressure on the quarterback.
However, a team looking for a big body to plug in the middle of the defensive line could still be interested in the big veteran.
William Hayes is coming off his most productive season in the pros. After struggling to make much of an impact with the Tennessee Titans to start his career, Hayes was quite dominant in his lone season with the St. Louis Rams.
He proved to be a valuable pass-rushing asset to the team, recording seven sacks despite limited playing time. While Hayes proved he can get pressure on the quarterback, he also showed that he has the ability to stop the run.
Teams may be hesitant to give him a big offer, but Hayes could end up being quite the steal if he turns into an every-down DE for a team.
James Harrison used to be one of the most feared defenders in the NFL. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case.
While the five-time Pro Bowler is still capable of laying out an opponent, there isn't much else he brings to the field. He hasn't played a full season the past two seasons, missing eight combined games.
He'll be 35 by the time next season starts, and his recent string of injuries and concussion issues will make him a hard sell to teams in need of defensive help.
With DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer at outside linebacker, Victor Butler didn't have much opportunity to see the field for the Dallas Cowboys.
When he was on the field, however, he made quite the impact. In his 300 snaps last year, Butler showed that he can be a force in getting pressure on quarterbacks and slowing down the run.
The one area he'll need to improve on is in pass coverage, where he struggled to do much good at all. There are plenty of teams that could use Butler's abilities as a two-down linebacker, simply replacing him on passing downs.
In an increased role, Butler could become quite the impact player for a team.
Don't let Phil Dawson's age trick you into thinking he isn't valuable anymore. Even though he's 38, he's still one of the better kickers in the league.
Dawson completed a ridiculous 93.5 percent percent of his field goals in 2012—the best of his entire career.
Look for Dawson to see some heavy action in free agency.
Even though Chase Daniel only threw one pass in the 2012 season, he's still considered one of the better backups in the league. In fact, Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller has him ranked as the 39th-best quarterback in the league.
That's not a great ranking, but it does rank him above starters like Mark Sanchez, Christian Ponder and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Daniel's accuracy and understanding of pass-first offenses is what makes him such a valued commodity.
The New Orleans Saints would love to bring Daniel back to continue to grow under Drew Brees. However, if another team signs him, he definitely has what it takes to challenge for a starting gig in 2013.
Michael Turner played in all 16 games for the Atlanta Falcons and still ended up with his lowest rushing total since coming to the Falcons in 2008. His 800 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns and 3.6 yards per carry average were his lowest since the 2008 season.
As a 31-year-old running back with over 1,600 total carries, Turner is nearing the end of his career. He certainly doesn't have the ability left to be a workhorse back, but he could still be a nice change-of-pace runner for a number of teams.
His 60 touchdowns in the past five seasons prove he has a knack for finding the end zone. A team looking for a physical, goal-line runner could be interested in a short contract with Turner.
Brandon Gibson's 51 receptions, 691 yards and five touchdowns in 2012 were all career highs. He had struggled to move up the depth charts for the St. Louis Rams, but injuries to Danny Amendola opened the door for him.
He took full advantage and showed that he can be a quality option in a team's offense. He doesn't have the size or physicality to be a No. 1 option, but certainly has the skills to be a No. 2 or No. 3 on the depth chart.
Considering that Gibson is only 25 and already entering his fifth year in the league, he should find a number of suitors interested in his talents.
Sam Baker is coming off a rather solid season for the Atlanta Falcons at left tackle. He was extremely valuable in protecting Matt Ryan and was a big reason for the success of the Falcons passing attack.
However, Baker struggled in the run game all season long. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 62nd-best tackle in the run game. Since the Falcons continue to move to a pass-first offense, however, they probably aren't too worried about Baker's struggles against the run.
Look for Baker to get a nice offer to stay in Atlanta and continue to protect the blind side of Ryan.
For defensive ends to be hot commodities in free agency, they generally have to be able to make an impact in the passing game, with the ability to put consistent pressure on quarterbacks.
Matt Shaughnessy doesn't possess that ability and won't be a hot commodity in free agency. He only recorded 3.5 sacks last season, despite playing the second-most snaps among Oakland defensive ends.
Shaughnessy does have the ability to make plays in the run game, which means he'll likely end up on someone's roster for the upcoming season. It'll probably be for a reduce role, however.
Of the 53 inside linebackers graded by Pro Football Focus, Rey Maualuga was the worst.
His biggest issue was in pass coverage, where he allowed a whopping 109.1 quarterback rating to opposing quarterbacks. He also wasn't great against the run and was one of the most penalized middle linebackers in the NFL.
Maualuga should ultimately find a team because he has solid tackling and good instincts around the ball. He just won't be used on all three downs like he was for the Cincinnati Bengals.
When you play behind an All-Pro like Justin Smith, it's unlikely that you'll make too much of an impact for the defense. However, when Ricky Jean-Francois was on the field for the Niners, he showed flashes of brilliance.
He's got a unique combination of size and athleticism that makes him a hassle for offensive lineman to try to stop. If Jean-Francois is given a bigger role, he could end up being quite the player.
Don't be surprised if he signs a surprisingly large contract from a team willing to take a chance on him as a starting defensive tackle.
Shane Lechler may be the only NFL player who doesn't age. Even though he'll soon be 37, he'll still be one of the best punters in the league.
It's hard to imagine the Oakland Raiders letting one of the best punters in the history of the game leave, but we've seen crazier things happen in Oakland.
Even though the New York Jets gave Shonn Greene multiple opportunities to be the No. 1 back, he was never able to prove worthy of the honor.
He is coming off a career year where he had 1,063 rushing yards and eight touchdowns—his second straight 1,000-yard season.
However, his 3.9 YPC average has to be a major concern. Greene is still young enough that he could turn the corner, but right now he looks like a backup running back at best.
With Matt Moore off the market, Drew Stanton becomes the best available free-agent quarterback.
He's proven to be a capable backup for both the Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts. The big question is whether or not he can be a legitimate starter in the NFL. He certainly has the ideal skill set to get a shot somewhere.
Both the Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills could show some major interest in Stanton.
Jerraud Powers is one of the younger cornerbacks available on the market this year. While he wasn't great with the Indianapolis Colts last year, he did have brief moments where he looked like a long-term option for a team.
Where Powers needs to improve is in his physicality with receivers. He gave up a 109 quarterback rating when passes were thrown his way, including four touchdowns.
Until Powers can consistently slow down receivers, he'll be a nickel option at best.
What makes Nick Barnett still have value in the NFL is his versatility. He has the ability to play in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense.
With the Buffalo Bills, Barnett played outside linebacker and played rather well for the team in 2012. Injuries were a major concern when Barnett came to Buffalo, but he started every game in his two years with the team.
Turning 32 in May, Barnett still has plenty to offer in the league.
The amount of starting cornerbacks available in free agency this year is really quite ridiculous.
Had Antoine Cason been a free agent in any other year, he would have been one of the top options. However, with so many quality corners available, Cason finds himself as a middle-of-the-road free agent.
Cason struggles to create turnovers, but he makes an impact in other ways. He has 45 passes defended in the past three years, including 11 this past season.
He likely won't be a team's first option to boost their secondary, but he could certainly step in and start for a number of teams in the league.
Last year was Ronde Barber's 16th year in the league. He made the switch from cornerback to free safety, and he made the switch look simple.
Barber played some of his best football in 2012, recording 92 tackles and four interceptions. He held quarterbacks to a 68.7 quarterback rating when throwing his direction.
Barber is about to turn 38 years old, and it's unknown how much gas he has left in the tank. If he doesn't sign a one-year deal with Tampa Bay (the only team he's ever played for), he'll likely retire.
Off-field issues have kept Jerome Simpson from having as big of an impact on the football field as he's capable of having.
In his lone season with the Minnesota Vikings last year, Simpson recorded 26 receptions and 274 yards. Don't let those numbers throw you off, however, as it came in 12 games and Simpson didn't really have a quarterback capable getting the ball in his hands.
Simpson is an elite athlete who knows how to make plays with the ball in his hands. As long as he can stay out of trouble, he has the abilities to be a quality option for a team.
Greg Jones is more of an old-school fullback. He isn't as versatile as some teams now like their fullbacks to be.
While Jones is a little undersized, he is still a fantastic blocking back. Injuries have hampered him throughout his career, but when healthy, he's been a great blocker for Maurice Jones-Drew. This could be a big reason why Jones stays in Jacksonville.
It's true that Osi Umenyiora isn't the player he was a few years ago, but that doesn't mean that he is unable to be productive in the right scheme.
Umenyiora is unlikely to be an every-down player, but could thrive as a pass-rushing specialist. He's recorded 15 sacks over the past two seasons despite being hampered by injuries and limited playing time.
He's played his entire career with the Giants, but a new team in 2013 is certainly a possibility.
If Brian Urlacher was a few years younger, he'd be ranked quite a bit higher. Unfortunately, Urlacher is far removed from the player he once was.
He's still got the same drive and desire that made him so enjoyable to watch but is lacking the speed and burst to make much of an impact. He missed four games last year due to a hamstring injury, but even before the injury, he was struggling to play consistent football.
The Chicago Bears need to move on from Urlacher, as hard as that might seem. Don't be surprised to see Urlacher retire if the Bears don't re-sign him.
Back-to-back key defensive players in free agency shows that the Chicago Bears could be revamping their defense this offseason.
While Israel Idonije isn't coming off his most productive season, he is coming off his most complete season. He's always been known as a threat to get to the quarterback, but this year Idonije also proved that he can be a factor in the run game.
His age (he'll be 32 years old in November) makes him a little risky as a free-agent DE. However, teams looking for a solid role player and all-around end should look his way.
Charles Woodson is one of the best defensive playmakers in NFL history. He's got the unique talent to always find himself around the football.
The past two years, however, Woodson has seen his production drop due to injuries. He missed nine games in 2012 from a broken collarbone, his second break in three years.
However, he's still an aggressive and physical player in the secondary who can make an impact for a defense.
Over the past few seasons we've seen just how huge of an impact a talented return man can make for a team. Players like Jacoby Jones, Devin Hester and Leon Washington continually give huge boosts to their team from big returns.
Josh Cribbs led all return men in punt-return yards with 457 last season. His 1,178 kick-return yards were the third in the NFL.
While he hasn't been able to make much of an impact as a wide receiver, he is a dynamic special teams player.
Brandon Myers broke out in a huge way for the Oakland Raiders in the 2012 season. In fact, he was basically the lone bright spot on offense for a struggling Raiders team.
His 79 receptions, 806 receiving yards and four touchdowns were all career highs by a long shot. However, Myers is a major liability in both run-blocking and pass-blocking. He simply can't be trusted to be an effective every-down tight end for a team.
That doesn't mean he can't make an impact, because he can certainly do that in the passing game. However, a team will need to be creative with him to use him as effectively as possible.
Everyone was amazed by Adrian Peterson's incredible 2012 season that was capped off by winning the MVP award. Whether you knew it or not, Jerome Felton was a big part of that amazing season.
Felton consistently opened up holes for Peterson to run through this past season. He did a fantastic job taking on defenders all year long and should be sought by a number of teams in the offseason.
In his lone season with the Kansas City Chiefs, Eric Winston proved to be valuable in both the run and pass game. However, the Chiefs are likely to draft an offensive tackle with the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL draft, so Winston's services are no longer needed.
That doesn't mean that Winston isn't valuable, because he certainly still has a ton of worth. He's only 29 years old, so age isn't an issue at all.
With so many teams looking to upgrade their offensive line through free agency, Winston could be a highly sought-after commodity. He'll definitely be starting somewhere in 2013.
It's true that Glenn Dorsey has yet to live up to his No. 5 overall draft pick of the 2008 NFL draft. However, that doesn't mean that he is a bad player.
He's made strides in recent years for the Kansas City Chiefs, but his 2012 season was cut short due to a calf injury in Week 9. While Dorsey may never live up to his high draft status, he still has the potential and ability to be a solid player for a team.
In fact, a change of scenery with less pressure might be exactly what Dorsey needs to excel.
Just because Cary Williams started for a Super Bowl team doesn't mean he is a fantastic player. He's a solid cornerback but nothing special, especially in this class of free-agent cornerbacks.
What Williams can bring to a team is experience and solid play in all facets of the game. He'll never be a lockdown cornerback, but that doesn't mean he can't improve a team's secondary.
Look for the Detroit Lions to show some serious interest in Williams early in free agency.
We'll always wonder what Rashard Mendenhall could have been had he not suffered so many injuries.
When he was healthy, he was easily one of the best young running backs in the league. Unfortunately, he is a shell of his former self, as he only played in six games last year.
A team in desperate need of a running back could take a chance on Mendenhall because he'll only be 26 years old this year. However, with so much wear and tear from injuries, it's hard to see him making much of an impact wherever he plays.
If Dustin Keller played for any other team in the league, he'd probably be much higher on our list of free agents. Unfortunately, having Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow throwing you the ball doesn't help your overall play.
Keller is a great pass-catching tight end. He knows how to get open and can make plays after the catch. Where Keller struggles is with blocking, due to a lack of overall strength.
He'd best be used as a player to stretch the field in an offense and make plays down the seam.
The San Diego Chargers struggled in a number of areas defensively. In fact, one of their lone bright spots on that side of the ball was Aubrayo Franklin.
He was one of the better defensive tackles against the run in 2012. He consistently got pressure up the middle of offensive lines and rarely missed a tackle when given the chance.
He's never going to be a threat to force a ton of pressure in the pass game, but teams needing a run-stopper in the middle should look Franklin's way.
Tracy Porter never made the impact that the Denver Broncos expected him to make when they signed him in the 2012 offseason. Of course, injuries were a big reason for this.
He missed the last 10 games of the season for the Broncos. However, even when he was on the field, he didn't make a huge impact. Quarterbacks had a 108.1 quarterback rating when throwing his way, including three touchdowns in just six games.
Porter's age (27 years old this year) and experience in big games will help him find a roster for the 2013 season. He may not start, but he can still make an impact as a nickel cornerback.
Daryl Smith is one of the best defensive players to ever play for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Of course, the Jaguars haven't had a ton of exceptional talent on defense, but Smith is still a solid player.
He missed the majority of the 2012 season with an injury but proved in the final two games of the season that he can still be a valuable player. He's got great instincts and consistently finds himself around the football.
The Jaguars could still be in the running to have Smith back on their roster for the upcoming season if he doesn't get signed early in free agency. I'm sure they'd love to have a role player like him to help with a young team.
As long as you don't focus on Adam "Pacman" Jones' past, you'll find a pretty solid nickel cornerback.
Jones got his act together for the Cincinnati Bengals and was a huge part of their success against the pass. He's still not reliable enough to be an every-down starter for a team but is still plenty valuable in such a pass-heavy league.
As long as Jones can continue to stay out of trouble, he should continue to be a valuable asset on defense.
Philip Wheeler may be one of the most underrated free agents available this year.
He played the sixth-most snaps of 4-3 outside linebackers and finished the year as the sixth-best 4-3 outside linebacker, according to Pro Football Focus. He has a great first step and can get pressure off the edge on a quarterback. Wheeler is also competent when dropping back into coverage.
His signing won't make the biggest waves this offseason, but whoever signs him could end up getting one of the best players in this free-agency class.
When Bryant McKinnie was inserted into the offensive line for the Baltimore Ravens, that was when their offense really took off.
He played left tackle throughout the playoffs and gave Joe Flacco the time he needed to pick apart opposing defenses. McKinnie has always had the potential to be a dominant player, but off-field issues and focus have always caused him trouble.
If McKinnie can stay focused on the game of football, he should have a few good years left in him.
Over the past few seasons, Louis Delmas has really been the only positive thing in the Detroit Lions secondary.
Delmas is an extremely physical player who doesn't excel in any one area of the game. Instead, he has the ability to make plays when blitzing, against the run and in pass coverage.
The Lions haven't shown great interest in Delmas, which has made him throw out some interesting words on their relationship. Whether they re-sign Delmas or not doesn't matter to him; he'll be starting somewhere this upcoming season no matter what.
The Houston Texans never used James Casey to his full potential, which is an extremely scary thought.
Casey did a little bit of everything for Houston and did it all quite well. He can run, block, catch and make plays in the open field. In the right type of offense, he could be one of the most dangerous and versatile weapons in the league.
If Casey gets paired up with the right offense, the 2013 season could be a career year for him.
Teams looking for an interior defensive lineman who can get pressure on a quarterback will have to look at Jason Jones. He's got a rare combination of size, strength and speed and consistently beats offensive linemen.
The only problem with Jones is that he struggles to make any type of impact against the run. He'll often find himself getting pushed off the line of scrimmage or running straight past the running back.
If Jones could ever figure out how to tone down his aggressiveness against the run, he could become quite the all-around talent. However, a number of teams would love to have his pass-rushing skills, even if that is all they get.
One of the surprise cuts this offseason was the Atlanta Falcons releasing John Abraham. Sure, he was overpaid, but it's interesting that Atlanta wasn't successful at restructuring his deal.
While most people think that Abraham's game has started to drop off, his statistics show differently. He's recorded 32.5 sacks over the past three seasons for the Falcons.
Abraham will have to settle for making quite a bit less than he has in recent seasons. However, a 4-3 defense looking for a player to bring pressure off the edge will be thrilled to sign Abraham.
This may seem a little low for a player like Connor Barwin, but the fact that the Houston Texans haven't re-signed him should scream about his true value.
Had he became a free agent after the 2011 season, he would have likely received much more interest than he's likely to receive this year. His overall numbers dropped in every major category from 2011 to this past season.
While Barwin can still start for a large number of teams in the league, he clearly isn't the high-impact player that many thought he was two years ago.
The only reason that Victor Cruz sits outside the top 50 on our big board is because he is a restricted free agent. It's simply too unlikely that he won't re-sign with the New York Giants this offseason.
If Cruz weren't a restricted free agent, he'd definitely be one of the best free agents available. However, he is too big of a name to keep off our list should something drastic happen this offseason.
Tony Gonzalez comes in at No. 50 on our big board because his future is still unknown at this point. Even though Jim Corbett at USA Today wrote that Gonzalez is likely to return in 2013, we aren't overly convinced.
UPDATE Tuesday, March 12, 2013 3:00 p.m. EST
Gonzalez has reportedly informed the Falcons he plans on returning in 2013, per Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, and the two sides are working on a deal.
-- End of Update --
The only thing that Gonzalez hasn't achieved in his career is a Super Bowl. While the Atlanta Falcons certainly look like a Super Bowl contender, it isn't that easy. They've looked like that team for the past few seasons and have come up short each time.
I'm sure the Falcons would love to have Gonzalez back, but we aren't holding our breath on his return.
For those that didn't know who Delanie Walker was heading into the 2012 season, they certainly found out during the playoffs.
Walker was a crucial part of the San Francisco 49ers' run to the Super Bowl. His blocking and pass-catching abilities opened up so many opportunities for Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick.
His biggest issue is his hands, as he drops a lot more passes than he should. Even with that problem, Walker is an exceptional talent who can instantly boost an offense in a number of ways.
Kenny Phillips is the type of all-around player that teams love in their secondary. He doesn't do one thing exceptionally well, but he isn't a liability in any aspect of the game either.
He can blitz, tackle, cover in the open field and make plays on all levels. His 2012 season was one of the best of his career, but it seemed that no one really noticed.
If Phillips doesn't re-sign with the New York Giants, their secondary will take a major hit.
Having Julian Edelman this high on our list might come as a surprise to some. However, Edelman is a unique talent who is only starting to tap into his potential as a wide receiver.
He was a quarterback coming out of college and saw time as a cornerback for the New England Patriots. His real value is as a receiver, where he is still learning the intricacies of the position.
If the Patriots don't re-sign Edelman, a team may be willing to pay him some serious cash because of his versatility. Whoever ends up giving him a chance should be pleasantly surprised by what they get in return.
As far as pass-blocking right tackles go, there are few that are better than Gosder Cherilus.
Pro Football Focus ranked him the fifth-best tackle in pass protection and the best in terms of right tackles. His run-blocking leaves a bit to be desired, but teams will certainly be able to overlook that because of his skills in pass protection.
The Detroit Lions should be the front-runner to re-sign Cherilus, considering the amount of times they throw the ball in a season.
With a handful of other big-name running backs on the free-agent market, Chris Ivory's name seems to get forgotten at times. The problem is that Ivory might have been the best running back in the crowded backfield of the New Orleans Saints.
He has exceptional field vision, and when you combine that with his power and speed, you have a rather deadly combination. The best part about Ivory is that he has very little wear and tear due to seeing limited time in New Orleans.
Ivory has the ability to be the No. 1 running back for a team. The only question that remains is whether or not he'll get that chance in 2013.
Chris Canty was another player who was surprisingly cut by a team heading into the offseason. While he wasn't exceptional for the New York Giants this past season, he was a solid part of their defense.
As a pass-rusher, Canty uses his hands extremely well to get by offensive linemen. He'd really excel in a 3-4 defense, which is why a team like the Green Bay Packers or New Orleans Saints would make sense for him.
He'll definitely be a key member of a defense this upcoming season, especially if he signs with either the Saints or Packers.
Over the past two seasons, Chris Houston has played rather well for the Detroit Lions.
He isn't the type of cornerback who is going to create a bunch of turnovers, but he has good ball skills and knows how to defend receivers. He's especially talented at taking on bigger receivers, a skill that is becoming more important for cornerbacks.
The Lions desperately need to re-sign Houston simply because their secondary would be absolutely horrid without him.
It seems like Richard Seymour is the one big-name free agent to whom no one is really talking. He missed the last half of the 2012 season due to a hamstring injury, which could explain why things are rather quiet.
Before he got injured, Seymour was playing his usual solid football for the Oakland Raiders. Even though he is a little less physical and a little slower than he used to be, he still finds ways to make an impact on the football field.
His role during the 2013 season will likely be quite a bit smaller than it's been in the past, but that shouldn't stop him from being a key player for a defense.
Most 3-4 outside linebackers are known for their ability to rush the quarterback. Shaun Phillips, on the other hand, is better known for his ability in pass coverage.
Now, that doesn't mean that he can't put pressure on a quarterback—he certainly can. He recorded 9.5 sacks this past season, but what makes Phillips so valuable is that he has the ability to drop into coverage against a number of positions.
The San Diego Chargers were so bad on defense last year that I can't see how they don't do everything possible to re-sign Phillips.
One of the unsung heroes in the success of the New Orleans Saints' passing game is Jermon Bushrod. He's been in charge of protecting Drew Brees' blind side since the 2009 season.
He's an extremely durable offensive tackle, as he hasn't missed a game in the past three seasons. Even though the Saints love to pass the ball, Bushrod is actually more talented as a run-blocker.
Teams needing help along their offensive line would love to have Bushrod on their roster for the next five years.
Dawan Landry was a key member of the surprisingly good defense of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He's actually been one of their better defensive players for the past two seasons.
In those two seasons, Landry combined for 197 tackles and three interceptions. He's a physical player who has the ability to make plays against both the pass and the run.
Landry certainly won't be one of the highest-paid free agents this offseason, but he could have one of the bigger impacts for the right team.
If only Danny Amendola weren't as fragile as glass, we'd be talking about him as one of the better wide receivers in the league.
When Amendola is healthy, he has shown that he can be a legitimate No. 1 receiver for a team. He recorded 63 receptions and 666 passing yards in 2012 despite only playing 11 games.
The St. Louis Rams are so desperate to have weapons for Sam Bradford that letting Amendola walk in free agency will be difficult.
Glover Quin has been a very good safety for the Houston Texans for the past three seasons.
The strongest part about his game is his ability in the run game. It seems that at times Quin knows exactly where the running back is going to go before the running back does.
While Quin isn't necessarily a liability in coverage, it isn't an area in which he excels either. Even with his limited abilities in coverage, Quin is the type of safety that can play every defensive snap for a team.
He should be a starting free safety somewhere in the NFL for the foreseeable future.
Brandon Moore has been as consistent as they come for the New York Jets. Even though he was 32 years old during the 2012 season, Moore still graded out as the fourth-best guard in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.
He has the ability to be a powerful run-blocking guard like he was for the Jets, but Moore also does a great job at protecting the quarterback. He only allowed two sacks and 14 quarterback hurries in the 2012 season.
If the Jets don't re-sign Moore, he'll make another team extremely happy as an instant upgrade on their offensive line.
The only reason that Louis Vasquez ranks above Brandon Moore is because he is six years younger. He isn't just going to help a team for the next two or three seasons; he's going to help a team for the next 10.
While Moore excels in the run game, Vasquez is at his best in pass protection. He consistently wins at the point of attack with defensive linemen and only gave up one quarterback hit all of last season.
If the San Diego Chargers want to continue to keep Philip Rivers alive (which is questionable), they'll need to do whatever it takes to re-sign Vasquez.
At 6'6" and 325 pounds, Alan Branch is the definition of a gigantic defensive lineman. He takes up a massive amount of space in the middle of a defensive line.
Branch didn't make as big of an impact for the Seattle Seahawks as he did in 2011, but that was likely due to the depth behind him. Had he played more snaps (he only played 575), he likely would have had a bigger impact.
The simple fact that Branch takes up so much space will make him attractive to a number of teams.
Keenan Lewis came out of nowhere to lead the NFL in passes defended with 23 last year. If he could only turn a few of those into interceptions, he'd be quite the player.
The fact that Lewis didn't record a single interception last year is a little troubling. He obviously can get into great position, but his lacking hands could scare some teams away.
Teams could also worry that Lewis is just a one-year wonder. Look for a team to offer him a modest contract and sign him to a long-term deal if he performs admirably.
It seemed like Bart Scott never fit in with the defense that the New York Jets ran. He was never able to make the type of impact he made for the Baltimore Ravens.
In the right defensive scheme, Scott could really thrive. The best thing that he will bring to a team is his leadership. He simply understands the game of football and could provide a ton of guidance for younger players.
A young defensive team that would allow Scott to play his style of football could get him back to being an Pro Bowl-type player.
Even though Matt Kalil got most of the publicity for the Minnesota Vikings' offensive line, Phil Loadholt was just as good. He might not be as good in pass protection, but he was far superior to Kalil in run-blocking.
Loadholt actually graded out as the fourth-best tackle in terms of run-blocking, according to Pro Football Focus. His quality play was a big reason that Adrian Peterson had such an incredible season this year.
Minnesota would be foolish not to bring back such an important member of its roster.
Injuries have played a big part of Ahmad Bradshaw's career. It seems he's always injured, and that is a big problem for a running back.
When Bradshaw is healthy, however, he can really be a dynamic player for an offense. What could make Bradshaw such a great signing is that he doesn't have many carries on his legs. He's always been part of a two-back system, which has kept him fresher through the years.
As long as he can stay healthy, he can still be a legitimate every-down back for an offense.
The one-year experiment with LaRon Landry wasn't a complete failure for the New York Jets. On the other hand, it wasn't an incredible success either.
Landry is always going to be an overly aggressive football player. Whoever ends up signing him will have to live with that part of his game. With that said, Landry can still make a huge impact for a defense.
Like a number of other free agents on this list, Landry's biggest weakness is his history with injuries. He was healthy for the 2012 season, which is a good sign for teams interested in his talents.
One of the best free-agent signings of the 2012 offseason was the New York Giants signing Martellus Bennett. He made an instant impact and had a rather productive season.
The biggest issue surrounding Bennett is getting him to play consistent football. At times during the 2012 season, he'd simply disappear for long stretches. Had he played at a high level for the entire season, we'd be talking about him as one of the better tight ends in football.
Once Bennett begins to play at 100 percent every single snap, the NFL will need to take notice.
Listen to these words: Brad Jones is going to make a huge impact wherever he plays next season.
When the Green Bay Packers were ravaged with injuries on their defense, Brad Jones stepped in and played extremely well. He played much better than A.J. Hawk and proved that he can absolutely be a starter in the NFL.
There isn't a part of Jones' game that lacks, as he can be a factor against both the run and pass. Look for Jones to have one of the biggest impacts of all the free agents in the 2013 season.
The switch to the 3-4 defense simply wasn't kind to Dwight Freeney. That doesn't mean that he can't still be a great player; it just means he can't be a great 3-4 outside linebacker.
Freeney is at his best as a defensive end in a 4-3, which is where he should sign this offseason. As a defensive end, he can use his speed and quickness to constantly beat offensive tackles with a number of moves.
With the Atlanta Falcons cutting John Abraham, Freeney could be a possible replacement.
Chris Gamble is the best defensive back in the history of the Carolina Panthers. He holds the franchise records for most interceptions (27) and passes defended (96).
He's only 30 years old, so Gamble still has some years left to make an impact for another team. He missed the majority of the 2012 season with a shoulder injury, which could be a concern for the 2013 season.
As long as Gamble's shoulder has completely healed, he could still be a solid starting cornerback for a large majority of teams in the league.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are going through some changes defensively. Derek Cox will likely end up being the player they'll miss the most.
He held quarterbacks that threw his direction to a 69 quarterback rating. Quarterbacks also managed to only complete 60.7 percent of their passes when throwing his way.
Cox may not be a legit No. 1 cornerback, but he is a solid starter nonetheless.
With Jared Cook, it is all about potential. He hasn't reached that potential yet, but a number of teams likely feel that he's very close to reaching it.
Cook is an exceptional talent who can run, catch and block. He occasionally makes mistakes, but that can be chalked up to his youth.
If Cook ever reaches his full potential, he could become an extremely scary offensive threat for a team.
Even though Adrian Wilson will be 34 years old during the 2013 season, he can still help a defense in a number of ways.
Wilson has been one of the most consistent safeties in the league for the past decade. He's been to five Pro Bowls and was voted onto four All-Pro teams.
His play did decline some this past season, but not enough for teams to be afraid to sign him. One team that makes perfect sense is the Dallas Cowboys, as they have major needs at the safety position.
Reggie Bush has proved over the past two seasons that he can be an every-down running back for an NFL team.
He's always been one of the most dynamic players in the league with the ball in his hands. With the Miami Dolphins, Bush proved that he's capable of touching the ball quite a bit without a drop in production.
Even if a team doesn't sign Bush to be their outright No. 1 back, he's a fantastic weapon that can make an impact on the ground or as a receiver.
Whenever you see Tom Brady sitting in the pocket for what seems like days, you can thank Sebastian Vollmer.
He was a dominant right tackle for the New England Patriots during the 2012 season. Pro Football Focus ranked Vollmer as the No. 13 offensive tackle in the league last year.
There are some concerns with his durability, as he's missed 11 games in the past two seasons. However, Vollmer's dominance when on the field should make him a highly sought-after free agent this offseason.
The Atlanta Falcons used their franchise tag on Brent Grimes last offseason and were rewarded with a season-ending injury in Week 1.
They didn't use their franchise tag on him this year, but that doesn't make him any less valuable. Grimes has shown the ability in the past to be a true shutdown corner. If he can recover fully from his Achilles injury, he could still be a shutdown cornerback in the NFL.
That he'll be 30 years of age next season will turn some teams off, but a team willing to give him a chance could be rewarded with a seriously talented cornerback.
Most people would say that Paul Kruger is one of the best free agents available this offseason. While he is a great free agent, he isn't as highly ranked here as others might rank him.
The biggest concern with Kruger is what you do with him when he can't get pressure on a quarterback. He struggles against the run and when asked to drop into coverage, so you're basically left with a one-trick pony.
Luckily for Kruger, he's pretty darn good at that one trick. He had nine sacks in 2012 and another 5.5 sacks the year before in limited playing time.
An ideal location for Kruger would be with the Cleveland Browns, who have the amount of cash that'll be necessary to sign him. He'd step in from day one and be a valuable asset to a team who is closer to competing than many think.
Ed Reed's play declined in a huge way during the 2012 season. He can still be a game-changing player, but those plays are now few and far between.
Reed will be 35 years old at the start of the 2013 season. The thousands of defensive snaps that he's played have certainly taken a toll on his body.
While I wouldn't bet against Reed still finding a way to make an impact, it's hard to imagine him being one of the better safeties in the league this year.
Fred Davis has missed 13 games over the past two seasons. Nine of those games were due to injuries and four were due to a league suspension for failed drug tests.
While it'll be hard for a team to trust Davis because of these issues, he's still an extremely talented tight end. When he's on the field, he is a nightmare for opposing defenses. He has the combination of size, speed and strength to be a headache for any defensive coordinator.
With the Washington Redskins finding their franchise quarterback in Robert Griffin III, they now need to surround him with talented players. Davis certainly fits the bill and would be extremely enjoyable to watch playing alongside Griffin.
Before the 2011 season, Smith was considered a massive bust for the Cincinnati Bengals. He struggled with injuries and staying in shape and rarely saw the field as a result.
However, he got his act together and has become one of the best young right tackles in the league. While his 2011 campaign put him on the map as a player to watch, his 2012 season was a thing of beauty.
He was dominant in pass protection and run-blocking, finishing the year as one of the best offensive tackles. Motivation will always be a concern with Smith, but if he stays on his current track, he should continue to be one of the better offensive linemen in the NFL.
Desmond Bryant is going to be a special player in 2013. He's one of the most underrated free agents available.
Bryant's recent arrest didn't produce the greatest mugshot and could cause some teams to look away from signing him. However, whoever does end up bringing Bryant onto their roster will get a young, incredibly talented player.
Bryant is an absolute menace when getting after the quarterback. He has a nonstop motor and only knows how to play at 110 percent.
By this time next year, Bryant will be one of the best defensive players in the league.
Sean Smith isn't going to blow you away with statistics, but what he will give you is an experienced and talented cornerback. You also rarely have to take him off the field, as his 1,068 defensive snaps last year prove.
The best trait that Smith possesses is his size. At 6'3", he can easily line up across from bigger receivers. He also has the strength to be aggressive at the line of scrimmage.
While Smith may be better suited as the No. 2 cornerback on the depth chart, he could wind up being the top cornerback on a roster simply due to a team's need.
This may seem a little high for Dannell Ellerbe, but he was exceptional when asked to fill in for Ray Lewis this past season.
Where Ellerbe plays his best football is when he isn't asked to drop into coverage. He can blitz and stop the run, but he really struggles in coverage. Opposing quarterbacks completed nearly 72 percent of their passes when throwing his way.
His struggles against the pass, however, don't outweigh all the good he does in every other area of the game. He'd be a perfect heir to the throne of Lewis for the Baltimore Ravens.
Talk about the perfect time to have a career year.
Michael Bennett always struggled to make an impact for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the 2012 season. However, this past year, he recorded nine sacks and forced three fumbles. He also proved that he's more than capable of being a force against the run.
When Tampa Bay didn't use its franchise tag on Bennett, it was a rather surprising move. He'd make a number of teams that run a 4-3 defense extremely happy.
The best offensive guard available in free agency, and second-best offensive lineman, is Andy Levitre.
Levitre was an absolute stud for the Buffalo Bills in 2012. Pro Football Focus graded him as the best pass-blocking guard in all of football. He only gave up one sack and seven hurries, two very good numbers for an offensive lineman.
If Buffalo doesn't re-sign Levitre, one team that makes perfect sense is the Chicago Bears. I'm sure that Jay Cutler would absolutely love the boost in pass protection that Levitre would provide.
Steven Jackson is the best running back available in free agency. Eight straight seasons of at least 1,000 rushing yards show just how consistent he has been.
The fact that he's been this good for a team without any other offensive weapons is a testament to just how good Jackson really is. While he is starting to hit that age where running backs start to decline, there should be plenty of teams fighting to obtain his services this season.
Any team that believes they are a Super Bowl contender and in need of a running back will likely be pursuing Jackson. Look for him to sign with the team he feels gives him the best opportunity to win right now.
If you're looking for the hardest-hitting free agent, Dashon Goldson is your player. Goldson has always been known for unleashing violent hits in the open field.
That style of football has made him successful for the San Francisco 49ers. The best defense for Goldson would be a defense that allows him to move freely in the secondary and look to make big hits.
The 49ers hold a ton of picks in this year's draft and could use one of them to find a cheaper option at safety. Goldson should end up being one of the most sought-after free agents this offseason.
The only concern that I have with Wes Welker is whether he is just a product of a system. For example, if Welker signs with another team, will he be as productive as he was for the New England Patriots?
There is no doubting that Welker has talent, but how much of his production was due to Tom Brady and the Patriots offense? Simply put, don't be surprised to see a drop in production if Welker isn't re-signed by New England.
While Jake Long is no longer the elite left tackle that he was a few years ago, he's still an extremely reliable starter on the left side of the line.
Long is still young enough (27 years old) to where he could still turn things around. If the 2012 season was just a fluke, Long could end up being the best player signed in free agency this season.
He'll likely demand quite a bit of money, but teams like the Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears would likely pay whatever Long wants to improve their offensive lines.
Don't let the overall struggles of the Philadelphia Eagles turn you off from Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
The Eagles had so many defensive issues that no one could excel in Philadelphia this past season. The reality is that Rodgers-Cromartie is an extremely talented defensive back and a legitimate No. 1 cornerback.
He's extremely dangerous whenever he gets the ball in his hands. His playmaking abilities and talent at shutting down receivers should get him a lucrative contract and starting job for the next few years.
In an extremely deep class of free-agent cornerbacks, Aqib Talib is the best cornerback available.
There is no doubt that Talib has some issues off the field that he needs to be able to control. However, as he showed with the New England Patriots, he can still be an elite cornerback in the NFL.
Talib has all the qualities of a shutdown cornerback. He just needs to be able to stay on the field long enough to display them.
If you forget about Greg Jennings' recent struggles with injuries, you have one of the best receivers in the league. Two years ago, no one would have argued with you if you called Jennings a top-five receiver in the NFL.
However, Jennings will be 30 years old in September, and he has missed significant time the past two seasons. While he may not be the player he once was, he's still an extremely talented wide receiver. Jennings can still make plays after the catch and still possesses fantastic hands.
It's unlikely that he'll be back with the Green Bay Packers, but he should certainly be a No. 1 receiver for another team in 2013.
The reason that Cliff Avril ranks this high in our top 100 free agents is because of his abilities as a pass-rusher. As teams put more value in getting pressure on quarterbacks, players like Avril become more and more valuable.
To his credit, Avril has been a rather dominant player for the Detroit Lions the past three seasons. He's recorded 29 sacks and nine forced fumbles.
Avril is the type of game-changing defensive player that teams love. He'll sign a huge contract this offseason, whether for the Lions or another team.
Our top free agent available is Mike Wallace. Yes, he's coming off his worst year in the past three seasons, but Wallace is still a special talent.
His ability to stretch the field vertically is what makes him such a dangerous player. He's a legitimate threat to score every time he touches the ball, due to his elite speed.
He'll need to go to a team that has a strong-armed quarterback in order to be as effective as possible. Look for Wallace to not only sign the biggest contract this offseason, but for him to have the biggest impact on the upcoming season, too.