The defensive free agents are the strong point of this offseason. There are a lot of big names hitting the market this offseason, and rumors about those big names not re-signing with their clubs are getting bigger every day.
Here are some of the top defensive free agents available this offseason.
Julius Peppers, DE. Carolina.*
Peppers isn't expected to re-sign with Carolina. He's looking for some big bucks and wants to be on a top-ranked team. Can you have both? No. Peppers will choose between one or the other. There are many rumors swirling around Peppers, even some say he will switch to linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
Kyle Vanden Bosh, Tennessee.
Another player not expected to re-sign with is team, Vanden Bosh, 31, still has a lot of game left inside of him.
Aaron Kampman, Green Bay.*
Kampman's first year at a 3-4 linebacker was not good. He showed everyone that he's more of a defensive end, and as he looks to hit free agency, it'd be smart of him to switch back.
Richard Seymour, Oakland.
Leonard Little, St. Louis.
Adewale Ogunleye, Chicago.
Ray Edwards, Minnesota. (RFA)
Marcus Spears, Dallas. (RFA)
Phillip Daniels, Washington.
Mark Anderson, Chicago. (RFA)
Jevon Kearse, Tennessee.
Jarvis Green, New England.
Reggie Hayward, Jacksonville.
*= could switch to linebacker.
Vince Wilfork, New England.
Wilfork said if he is tagged it'll be a "slap in the face." That might be the Patriots only option if they fail to re-sign him, because he has developed into one of the top nose tackles in the league.
Wilfork has only improved every year, and to see him go would make this struggling New England defense that much worse.
Casey Hampton, Pittsburgh.
Casey Hampton has been a star of the Steelers mighty defense for many years. It would shock me to see him leave, as he's already 32, and only has a couple more years left in him.
Aubrayo Franklin, San Francisco.
Franklin has developed himself as one of the top nose tackles in the league. He was a big part of the 49ers defense that turned a lot of heads this season. San Francisco must re-sign him this offseason.
Ryan Pickett, Green Bay.
Johnny Jolly, Green Bay.
Tony Brown, Tennessee. (RFA)
Barry Cofield, New York Giants. (RFA)
Jason Ferguson, Miami.
Tank Johnson, Cincinnati.
Karlos Dansby, Arizona.
Dansby was a big part of that playoff win vs. Green Bay. He's been a leader on this defense for many years. He'll be looking for a big time contract, hopefully staying with the Cardinals.
Elvis Dumervil, Denver.*
Dumervil came out on the scene this season under Josh McDaniels, and put up a league-leading 17 sacks. Whether or not he re-signs with Denver, he'll be receiving a huge contract to continue being the sack machine he is.
Barrett Ruud, Tampa Bay. (RFA)
Demeco Ryans, Houston. (RFA)
Kirk Morrison, Oakland. (RFA)
Keith Bullock, Tennessee.
Shawne Merriman, San Diego. (RFA)
Thomas Davis, Carolina, (RFA)
D'Qwell Jackson, Cleveland. (RFA)
Thomas Howard, Okland. (RFA)
Gary Brackett, Indianapolis.
Angelo Crowell, Tampa Bay.
Larry Foote, Detroit.
Jason Taylor, Miami.*
Stephen Tulloch, Tennessee. (RFA)
Pisa Tinoisamoa, Chicago.
* denotes could switch to defensive end.
Dunta Robinson, Houston.
Has struggled to live up to expectations, and probably won't re-sign with Houston. He'll be asking for a lot more than he's worth, so don't expect him to get signed too quickly.
Leigh Bodden, New England.
After coming off a struggling year with Detroit, Bodden had a huge year with New England with five interceptions.
Carlos Rogers, Washington. (RFA)
Tramon Williams, Green Bay.
Richard Marshall, Carolina. (RFA)
Dre Bly, San Francisco.
Ellis Hobbs, Philadelphia. (RFA)
Marlin Jackson, Indianapolis. (RFA)
Nick Harper, Tennessee.
Kevin Dockery, New York Giants. (RFA)
Ken Lucas, Seattle.
Fabian Washington, Baltimore. (RFA)
Darren Sharper, New Orleans.
At 34 years old, Sharper continues to get it done, coming close to getting Defensive Player of the Year.
Sharper was a huge part of the Saints Super Bowl run, and he's still got enough game in him to last him two or three more years, so if he doesn't re-sign with New Orleans, he won't be on the market for long. His leadership and skills is something that every team could use.
Nick Collins, Green Bay. (RFA)
Antoine Bethea, Indianapolis. (RFA)
OJ Atogwe, St. Louis.
Roman Harper, New Orleans. (RFA)
Bernard Pollard, Houston. (RFA)
Ryan Clark, Pittsburgh.
Atari Bigby, Green Bay. (RFA)
Tyrone Carter, Pittsburgh.
Sean Jones, Philadelphia.
Dawan Landry, Baltimore. (RFA)
Roy Williams, Cincinnati.
Jeff Reed, Pittsburgh.
Stephen Gostkowski, New England.
Neil Rackers, Arizona.
Shayne Graham, Cincinnati.
Dan Carpenter, Miami.
Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland.
Jay Feely, New York Jets.
Michael Koenan, Atlanta.
Jon Ryan, Seattle.
Sam Koch, Baltimore.
Hunter Smith, Indianapolis.
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