2013 NFL Free Agents: Best Possible Fit for Top Defensive Players on Market

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IMarch 9, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 05:  Safety Charles Woodson #21 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after the Packers 24-10 victory against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 5, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The NFL free-agency period officially starts on March 12 when teams can officially sign players, and there are some top defenders on the open market who will no doubt draw plenty of interest.

Linebackers Paul Kruger and James Harrison will both be available for teams to sign, while safety Charles Woodson will also be a hot commodity for teams looking for help in their respective secondaries.

Sure, plenty of teams will have interest in these players, but some teams are simply better fits than others.

Let's take a closer look at each of these players and where the best fit is for each.


LB James Harrison

Best Fit: New Orleans Saints

Harrison is the newest member of the free-agent market after being released by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday for salary cap reasons, per Will Graves of The Associated Press.

Harrison has been about as good as any player at his position over the span of his career, but that hasn't come without controversy, as the Pro Bowler has had several run-ins with the league office for illegal hits over the years.

Still, any team looking for a nasty defender and a great pass-rusher will no doubt be looking to acquire his services regardless of his track record. The Saints are certainly a team that needs some nasty on its soft defense.

The Saints could also use themselves a great pass-rusher like Harrison, who is good for about 10 sacks or more when he can stay healthy the entire year. New Orleans was tied for No. 25 in the NFL in sacks last season and will no doubt be looking for another linebacker with Rob Ryan's incoming 3-4 defense.


S Charles Woodson

Best Fit: New York Giants

Woodson was another cap casualty this offseason after being released by the Green Bay Packers after a long and successful stint with the team.

He only played in seven games last season thanks to injury, but Woodson has proven to be a great safety during his career who can both force fumbles and be an effective tackler. Woodson will turn 37 on Oct. 7, so it likely won't take a long-term deal to sign the veteran.

Woodson would like to play for a winner at this stage in his career, and the Giants have been one of the teams to express interest in him, per Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com. New York certainly qualifies as a contender in this instance and should have a great chance to land Woodson should the money be right.

The Giants have already seen their safety hit the open market, as Kenny Phillips wasn't satisfied with their offer, so that could leave them one short at the position. Regardless of his age, Woodson would be a major upgrade at the position should the Giants bring him aboard.


LB Paul Kruger

Best Fit: Indianapolis Colts

Whenever a team wins the Super Bowl like the Baltimore Ravens, there are bound to be some key players who don't return, and Kruger certainly qualifies as such.

Kruger led the Ravens in the sack department last season with nine, and he also added another 4.5 during the Ravens' Super Bowl run. Adding to his regular-season numbers, Kruger also notched 17 quarterback hits and 43 hurries.

The former Ravens linebacker will be a top target for teams in need of a pass-rusher on the edge, and one of those teams is the Indianapolis Colts.

Indy was tied for No. 23 in the NFL last season in sacks, so a major upgrade is definitely needed to shore up the pass rush. The Colts can't hope to improve upon their dreadful pass defense from last season if they can't get pressure on the quarterback.

The Colts are already said to be interested in Kruger, but that won't come without stiff competition, per Ed Werder of ESPN.